Friday, 5 November 2010

Deliberate unleashing of state violence

MORE evidence has emerged of the brutal state violence used against Irish students who protested against increased fees in Dublin on Wednesday.

Several videos have been posted online showing riot police attacking young protesters, lashing out with batons at peaceful sit-downs and charging at lines of demonstrators with horses.

Said one campaigner: "What we witnessed today was the policing of fear, the deliberate use of state violence to discourage acts of protest and civil disobedience. "

Spineless national student union leader Gary Redmond has chosen to condemn the protesters as extremists and has not commented on violence from the Gardai.

But the WSM (Workers Solidarity Movement) issued a statement condemning in the strongest terms the police violence.

It reported that several members of the organisation were present with almost 1000 others in support of for those who entered and occupied the Department of Finance.

Mark Malone, student and member of the WSM, present at the protests, said: "I witnessed masked men in padded clothing beat a woman around the head with a baton.

"She was so scared she couldn’t move even as they shouted at her to do so. My friends and I helped her away from where the police where hitting people.

"The police refused to listen to our calls for medical attention and instead pushed me on top of this woman using a large plastic shield. This was only one of many instances of brutality.

"I also saw police punch, kick, drag and throw to the ground the people who occupied the Department of Finance. It was clear to everyone that the police decided to intimidate and physically assault us.

"The low number of arrests compared to the very high level of injuries suggest that this was a tactic decided at a high level. It was as if the police wanted to provoke a violent response from us. All we could do was try to defend our selves and each other from these thugs.

"While several WSM members where present in the demo, other members watched from the vantage point of our office window which directly over looked the scene.

"We witnessed many injuries as a result of police violence, mostly unprovoked batoning, but also the use of the edges of riot sheilds to dig into people.We witnessed police horses being run directly into a mass crowd, we saw women and men sitting on the ground, beaten with lumps of stick the police call 'batons'.

"We witnessed polices dogs being reared into the crowd as people shouted 'peaceful protest'. I heard the police swear and verbally threaten students, one saying they would 'knock the fucking shit' out of me if I didn't move.”

Malone continued: "The government chooses to target students, much in the way they target the sick, unemployed and marginalised because they think we are an easy touch.

"This government has lost legitimacy since in reality it is the IMF and ECB, and the faceless rich of the “markets” who now dictate policy. This is not just an economic crisis, it is a crisis democracy as we can clearly see the structures of power at play.”

"What we witnessed today was the policing of fear, the deliberate use of state violence to discourage acts of protest and civil disobedience. "