Twelve arrests after huge bin tax protest
Twelve arrests after huge bin tax protest

A crowd of up to five thousand marched on Mountjoy Prison last night demanding the release of the jailed TD, Joe Higgins, and his colleague, Clare Daly.

Mr Higgins and Ms Daly were sentenced to a month in jail last Friday for defying a court injuction against obstructing bin lorries in protest against charges in Fingal council area.

The harsh sentences for the two politicians and the crackdown against the campaign civil disobedience has inflamed opinion in Dublin against the charge.

Now the two are set to be joined by up to twelve more protestors who were arrested in west Dublin today for opposing the charge. Eleven are to appear in the High Court this afternoon.

Campaigners last night marched with placards from the capital's Parnell Square to Mountjoy Prison wheere a rally we held. Speakers at the event included trade union leader Mick O'Reilly, who said the sentences imposed on Mr Higgins and Ms Daly would only boost the campaign.

Martin Cullen has taken a confrontational approach to anti-bin charge protestors since he became Minister for the Environment and Local Government last year. They say that the present situation is a result of penalising householders while industial polluters go unchecked.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan TD has described the judgement as ``scandalous'', and said the two had engaged in ``legitimate political protest and acts of civil disobedience in opposition to unjust double taxation which the bin charges represent.''

Deputy Morgan added that the government had created a situation where people were driven to protest and civil disobedience.

``Waste collection is an essential service which must be provided by the state. We need to see initiatives on recycling and separated waste collection and NOT unjust double taxation, uncollected rubbish and confrontational attitudes from government to the protests of citizens.''

He also compared the decision to jail the pair with the treatment of politicians from the government party -- Fianna Fáil -- who continue to obstruct the work of the some of the many corruption tribunals currently in existence.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News