FIGHTING RACISM IS NOT A CRIME...
On 28 March 2000 a group of eleven anti-racists occupied
the Taoiseach's constituency office, in protest at proposed
draconian measures against asylum seekers. The government was
planning to introduce prison ships (so-called `flotels'),
forcible fingerprinting and the introduction of police from
abroad to catch people fleeing injustice in their own countries.
Bertie Ahern had praised the Australian system of dealing with
asylum seekers, where people are held in detention centres.
Although the protest was entirely peaceful, the eleven were
arrested and two women were stripsearched in Fitzgibbon St. Garda
Station. The eleven have since been charged under the Public
Order Act and face the possibility of prison sentences. The use
of such laws to clamp down on legitimate political protest in
Ireland is a disturbing attack on civil liberties. Previously,
trade unionists and other protestors have been threatened with
similar sanctions. Occupations have been used by other groups as
a form of protest many times in the past. For example, when
members of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) occupied the
offices of the EU Commission for ten days in July, the Taoiseach
met with the IFA leadership on several occasions during the
occupation and gave a `compensation package' costing £60m. It is
clear that the Public Order
Act is selectively applied.
The accused anti-racists are guilty of no crime. The real
crime is the racism of the state. In recent years, the government
has deported many people who have come to Ireland to escape
political and economic persecution. Refugees have faced racist
harassment from police and other state officials. Politicians
have repeatedly tried to scapegoat refugees for social problems
in an attempt to hide their own responsibility for the lack of
investment in housing and social services.
Racism is the real crime: fighting against it is not a crime.
We ask people to support the anti-racists, who are guilty of
nothing but standing up to that crime.
``I support the eleven anti-racists charged in connection with the occupation of the Taoiseach's constituency office. I call for the charges against them to be dropped.''
Return to: Residents Against Racism, c/o Comhlamh, 10 Upper Camden St, Dublin 2
E-mail messages of support to: email@example.com
Appeal issued by:
ti-Racism Campaign, Anti-Fascist Action, Residents Against Racism, Ógra Shinn Féin