Four members of eirigi held a peaceful protest on the outer porch of Anglo Irish Bank’s headquarters in Dublin before they and three supporters were attacked and injured by members of the Garda police.
The incident took place ahead of a planned protest outside the building, synonymous with the corruption of the Dublin government and its ‘golden circles’ of cronies and insiders.
Members from the socialist republican party used a ladder to reach the top of the porch outside the building in the early morning, and gardai were on the scene within a short time.
The protesters hung a banner saying “People of Ireland, rise up” across Anglo’s windows, and remained there until 11.30am, when they were assaulted by Garda who had forced their way onto the porch.
Demonstrators on the ground were also attacked, with three more arrests taking place.
A number of those arrested sustained injuries in the Garda attack and required treatment from a doctor in Pearse Street Barracks.
eirigi chairperson Brian Leeson has described the Garda attack on peaceful protestors as “vicious and unprovoked”.
The main protest went ahead as planned, with around 150 people turning up to demand an end to the bank bailout, NAMA and the slashing of public services. As the scheduled speaker, Daithi Mac An Mhaistir, was among those arrested, Brian Leeson gave the main oration.
During the demonstration, a large effigy of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Sean Fitzpatrick was burned.
Leeson said: “Today’s events proved the point that the institutions of this state act only in the interest of the bankers, developers and the entire business class.
“However, today also demonstrated that working class people are not powerless in the face of the economic onslaught being waged by right-wing politicians and the wealthy. The Garda’s aim - to prevent the demonstration going ahead - was not achieved.
“People should be conscious of their own ability to change the agenda in this country if they act collectively and determinedly. The action of the Garda and government cannot stop the fight-back that has now begun.”
Leeson also called for the immediate release of the only eirigi activist still in custody tonight, who was apparently held on the grounds that Gardai could not ascertain his identity.
“There is absolutely no reason this man should continue to be held apart from political vindictiveness. He should be released immediately and the charges against all the activists should be dropped.”
On Sunday, it was reported that the Garda’s Public Order Unit [riot squad] has recently undergone training in baton charges in full body armour, as well as the use of tear gas and other weapons.
The training was ordered after scenes from Athens of large-scale rioting by Greek citizens over harsh ‘austerity measures’ in that country provoked fears of similar confrontations on the streets of Dublin.
Last week, a number of people received injuries after a march attended by 800 people arrived at Leinster House in Dublin.
Demonstrators were was set upon by Gardai who became panicked by the possibility that protestors would storm the Dublin parliament through gates which had been inadvertently left open.