The Blanket


A journal of protest & dissent



The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey



Times Are A Changing

Davy Carlin
Andersonstown News 13/5/2002


Once again the Gardai Siochana's brutal attack on men women and in cases children has been witnessed on the streets of Dublin. It was only a matter of months ago when other protesters were batoned charged in Dublin, their crime was to march against continual privatization of public services amongst other such issues. This time it was a demonstration against globalization,which saw the Gardai removing their indentification tags before laying into the protesters and bystanders with batons, boots and fists.

While personally this type of tactic from the Southern police does not surprise me, what I do find it interesting, though, is the lack of response by certain parties and peoples who traditionally bore the brunt of such actions. Yet it is increasingly becoming less and less of a surprise to many people from differing circles, as such parties are constantly commending the 'legitimate force of the state' even while they continually batter women, children and peace activists off the Southern streets. In effect such parties will toe the given line as votes continually will be prioritized over the democratic rights of'others. The vocal reaction of some perceived Southern 'radical' politicians who are standing in the forthcoming election when questioned on the issue could be likened to a solely commission paid PR rep for the Gardai Siochana. The right to peacefully protest is a democratic right and those who deny that right however high up they go, or from whatever force they belong need to be made accountable.

Wider society in many countries have and are continually feeling the brunt especially post Sept 11th on basic human and democratic rights so it is for us to stand firmly against such continual intrusion of our basic rights. If the police can beat peaceful protesters of the street without being held accountable then history has shown how that can progress in a direction of intensification. Basic rights have been foughtfor over the decades from work to community and political rights with many peoples tortured, murdered and imprisoned in many countries which is still in many cases ongoing. Solidarity therefore with those who stand up and march or speak out for their rights is fundamental to those who believe in equality and justice for all peoples on this island. And such organizations therefore who in part live off the history and tradition of the past should apply it to the present for the benefit, equality and justice for all. Yet if they don't that history is then but rhetorical. Of course there are many tactics, strategies and contradictions in the arena of politics, but I just wonder what the United Irishmen would have prioritized, votes for a possible right wing governance or the standing proudly in defense of Irish working people and their long fought for basic rights?








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