Oppressive G8 policing underway
Oppressive G8 policing underway


A member of eirigi has become the first person to be arrested ahead of a giant security clampdown on political protests in advance of the G8 summit in the Irish border county of Fermanagh gets under way within the next few days.

The two-day conference by the leaders of the wealthiest capitalist nations will see top-level discussions on global economic policy and international military interventions.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is “really proud” it is being held in “our country”.

The summit is set to be opposed by thousands of protestors demanding greater social justice, an end to western imperialist wars and an end to the partition of Ireland.

On both parts of Ireland, amid an unprecedented security operation, state forces have efficiently created a climate of fear and intimidation. The operation and the accompanying scare campaign have the evident goal of stifling protests and justifying state violence.

After he was spotted erecting posters opposing the summit, eirigi member Pádraig Ó Meiscill was arrested on the Falls Road in West Belfast on Wednesday morning. He was taken to Grosvenor Road barracks -- ‘to have his identity checked’ -- and his posters were seized, as were those of other members of the party elsewhere in the city.


In Dublin, there was a systematic effort to tear down posters advertising an event in opposition to the international summit called ‘Alternative G8’. The group behind the event said one of its people had been assaulted within the first hour of trying to put up posters, and accused the Garda police of attempting to censor their publicity effort.

The bloody-minded attitude of the PSNI to eirigi’s small postering campaign in Belfast has been contrasted with the force’s hands-off refusal to remove deeply insulting loyalist paramilitary flags in the same city this week.

éirígí’s general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, said the use of simple political posters falls well within the scope of what the vast majority of people would consider to be legitimate and peaceful political activity.

Those involved “were breaking no laws and they were not engaged in any form of disruptive or other activity. Despite these facts, they were clearly targeted in a coordinated manner by several heavily armed PSNI units”, he said.

“It is clear that the PSNI is acting under strict political orders to suppress any form of political opposition against the forthcoming G8 summit in Fermanagh and today’s incidents are a clear indication of the true nature of the intense security operation currently being deployed across the Six Counties.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI has ratcheted up tensions with repeated warnings about an influx of tens of thousands of ‘hardline anti-capitalist anarchists’ and ‘dissidents’.

The security build-up has also seen British military deployments, temporary prisons, round-the-clock special courts and airborne drones, as well as a giant barbed-wire fence which has blighted several square miles of scenic Fermanagh countryside.

Mr Mac Cionnaith said the targeting of the small but active republican socialist group sent a message to other political parties of the left, to trade unionists and to community sector groups organising against the G8 summit, that “what has previously been accepted as normal political activity is now under threat in the Six Counties.

“Although they may deny it through their slick PR machines, the PSNI and the powers-that-be in the Six Counties are intent on preventing citizens from exercising their rights to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of political expression in order to stifle opposition to the G8 summit.”

A number of peaceful protests have already taken place in central London but some have been violently suppressed by police there.

Meanwhile, the security operation surrounding the summit at the five star Lough Erne Golf Resort is the biggest ever witnessed in Ireland.

A four-mile security wall has been erected around the resort, a seven-mile stretch of Lough Erne is being closed down and restrictions over air space are being introduced.

Around 5,000 PSNI police and a further 3,500 police called in from Britain will be deployed across the North over the weekend and through the summit on Monday and Tuesday. Thousands of Gardai have also been drafted to the border area from across the 26 Counties.

Schools have been told to operate on a new time schedule or close entirely.

Sixteen judges are on standby to preside over special all-day courts to process hundreds of “dangerous radicals”. British military units are said to have established 260 additional prison cells in nearby Omagh and in Belfast.

US president Barack Obama is to visit parts of Belfast ahead of the summit. He will address a hand-picked group of young people at the Waterfront Hall in his only public appearance.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron ratcheted up tensions when he said he was “really proud” that the G8 summit is being held in the north of Ireland.

Mr Cameron said: “Frankly, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it would have been unthinkable to hold a G8 in Northern Ireland, in County Fermanagh.

“I’m really proud that we’re taking the G8 there to showcase this extraordinary part of our country.”

Several events are being held across Ireland to protest against the capitalist summit. Over 20,000 are expected to attend a protest rally organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Belfast tomorrow.

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