Irish Republican News · May 18, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Dubliners riot over provocative state visit
Dubliners riot over provocative state visit

Hundreds of rioters clashed with gardai police for almost three hours following the visit of the British queen to the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin city centre yesterday, throwing fireworks, glass bottles and bricks.

Riot squad officers responded by charging the crowds, clubbing the protestors and spraying them with mace.

There were 21 arrests, including a number seized by British-style ‘snatch squads’. Armed police mingled in the crowd while others photographed the rioters for prosecution at a later date.

The main trouble flared in the north inner city, at the edge of a number of streets north of the Garden of Remembrance closed off to secure the site for the royal cortege.

A crowd of about 200 gathered from lunchtime at the main crossroads of Dorset Street, Blessington Street and Frederick Street North.

Uniform and riot squad gardai who linked arms faced against an increasingly angry crowd as 3pm approached, the time when Windsor was due to arrive at the memorial to Ireland’s war martyrs.

The first scuffles began after a Union Jack was set on fire and a few missiles were thrown. Wheelie bins outside nearby premises were also set on fire.

At 3pm, when Windsor arrived at the Garden of Remembrance 500m away, a large number of fireworks were thrown and the crowd began chanting and shouting. For about 30 minutes, missiles were thrown almost continuously.

Just after 3.30pm, gardai dressed in full riot gear emerged and the dispersing of the rioters began. The riot squad fanned out to clear the crossroads, effectively splitting the crowd into three, with small sections of protesters being pushed south down Dorset Street and others into Blessington Street.

A large section of the crowd stayed together and were pushed north on to Dorset Street by riot squad officers who used their shields.

A small crowd corralled into Blessington Street threw missiles at one line of gardai, at which point the first arrest was made. A man was plucked from the crowd, wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.

Lines of riot squad gardai then pushed the largest section of protesters further north up Dorset Street.

At one point, the trouble spread about 800m north to a junction where roads were open to traffic, creating mayhem for motorists. There were intense scuffles as the protesters were pushed back.

There were a number of further arrests as the final charge on the rioters by riot squad members on foot and by Garda vehicles took place.

‘SERVILITY’

A number of groups held peaceful protests throughout the day. A noisy protest by the small republican group eirigi on Parnell Street passed off without incident.

There had been minor trouble on Henry Street earlier as protesters tried to break through a Garda cordon for a sit-down protest at the Spire on O’Connell Street, past which the royal cortege later drove, but the crowd was quickly cleared by gardai.

An eirigi spokesperson said: “The political establishment and the mainstream media have welcomed Windsor’s state visit with open arms and cringe-inducing servility.

“Instead of a serious debate about the pro’s and con’s of the visit the general public have been served up a never-ending stream of pro-royalist propaganda.

“The views of those who oppose the Windsor visit have been systematically excluded from the airwaves and print media.

“But despite the best efforts of the Dublin government to portray the visit as ‘normal’ the cracks are already beginning to appear. All across Ireland people are asking very valid questions about the Windsor visit; why should the people of Ireland be expected to welcome the head of state of a country that continues to occupy the Six Counties?

“What message does this visit send from the Twenty-Six Counties to those who live under the British occupation in the Six Counties? Why should upwards of 30,000,000 euro be spent hosting such a controversial state visit at a time of unprecedented economic depression? Is this visit really about improving relations between the peoples of Ireland and Britain, or is it about reinforcing the British occupation?”

‘WE WANT THE TRUTH’

Earlier, there had been moving scenes on nearby Talbot street, where a commemoration was held to mark the 37th anniversary of a British-inspired bomb attack.

In the late afternoon of May 17th 1974 British agents detonated a no-warning car bomb, just metres from the Garden of Remembrance, killing men, women and children, including an entire family of two parents and their two baby daughters. Within ninety minutes a further three car bombs detonated in Dublin and Monaghan. A total of 33 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured on that terrible day.

Amid the melee of security restrictions for the arrival of the royals nearby, relatives of those who died on that day wept as they remembered their loved ones.

Tears rolled down the face of Tommassino Magliocco as he honoured his father who was murdered in a car bomb attack 37 years ago. Italian man Antonio Magliocco was just 37 when he was killed in the atrocity, leaving behind his wife and three young children under four.

“You will never forget a family member but on this occasion, coming here, it’s more emotional,” said Mr Magliocco, the eldest child, who returned to Dublin for the anniversary.

“But we want answers. We want to know why and we want to know who was involved. We want to know the truth.”

Margaret Urwin, spokeswoman for the campaign group ‘Justice for the Forgotten’ described the deaths of 33 civilians as Ireland’s 9/11, “proportionate to our population”.

She said none of those who died were “among what you might call the high and mighty of this land”, but they were loved and missed by their families.

Ms Urwin appealed to the British Prime Minister David Cameron to “open the files” that were withheld from the late Mr Justice Henry Barron, who investigated the bombings, and allow a new judicial inquiry.

“As prime minister David Cameron will accompany her and is due to meet our Taoiseach Enda Kenny tomorrow, we believe this occasion affords Mr Cameron a wonderful, a golden opportunity to make a genuine significant gesture of reconciliation.”

Speaking in the Dail this evening on a Sinn Fein private members’ motion on the bombings, Caoimhghin O Caolain said the scheduling of the first day of the visit of the British Queen on the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings “showed gross insensitivity”.

Mr O Caolain also pointed out that Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s record on the issue was “less than satisfactory”.

NOT ‘NORMAL’

Seperately, Sinn Fein released hundreds of black balloons into the air. to remember those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.

Sinn Fein Dublin South Central TD Aengus O Snodaigh TD said his party believed the visit was premature and would cause offence to many Irish citizens “particularly victims of British rule”.

“During Elizabeth Windsor’s 60 year reign almost 400 people have been killed in Ireland by the forces of which she is Commander in Chief - this figure does not include the many Irish people killed as a result of collusion between her forces and loyalist death squads.

“Today marks the 37th anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people died. It is widely believed that this attack was carried out with the involvement of British military intelligence. The British government are still refusing to hand over their secret files in relation to these deaths. It’s time for the truth.

“We are living in changed and changing times but the fact that 30 million euro is being spent on security surrounding this visit and Dublin City is on lockdown for the week makes it clear that the relationship between the two islands is still not ‘normal’.

“Sinn Fein wants to have good relations with all our neighbours but that can only happen in an atmosphere of equality and mutual respect and with the reunification of our country. Republicans have been to the forefront in working to bring this about and we will continue to do so.”

INAPPROPRIATE

Descendants of Ireland’s 1916 rebel leaders also condemned the state visit, which they described as “bizarre” and “inappropriate”.

James Connolly-Heron, great-grandson of Irish Labour Party founder James Connolly, said the visit was full of contradictions, as did Honor O Brolchain, grand-niece of another signatory of the Proclamation of Independence, Joe Plunkett.

Both questioned why Windsor was asked to attend the Garden of Remembrance, which honours Irish rebels, and Croke Park, where in 1920 British troops killed 14 people in what was the original Bloody Sunday attack.

Mr Connolly-Heron said: “The places that she is visiting, the Garden of Remembrance and Croke Park, it’s very inappropriate and insensitive. The Garden of Remembrance honours all those who fought and died for Irish freedom and that’s where the Queen will be laying a wreath. But that dream has not been realised.

“There’s a contradiction there. Given that the Queen of England still occupies part of this island is it not strange that she is honouring those who fought and died? I don’t think we are at the stage for that sort of recognition.

“The itinerary is very strange. We have a strange image of the Queen laying a wreath in honour of those patriots. Is the Queen in favour of Irish unity? Croke Park is even more bizarre. The first people who should be honoured should be the people who died on the field.”

‘A CIRCUS’

A protest against the Queen’s visit organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement also passed off without incident yesterday evening. About 100 people took part in the protest, which began at the GPO and ended outside the Central Bank. It sought to highlight the role of the Queen as the head of the British armed forces.

Chairman of the movement Richard Boyd-Barrett said the protest was not anti-British, but was to highlight the role of British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He described the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama as a “circus” similar to that organised by the Roman emperors to distract the masses from wars and destruction.

The protesters were addressed by Joan Humphreys, a British woman who lost her grandson Private Kevin Elliott in Afghanistan in 2009.

She said a million Afghans had been mourning following the conflict which started in the country in 2001 and which she described as a “criminal war”.

She said there were wars that were just, such as the Spanish Civil War, but the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were not among them.

© 2011 Irish Republican News