Thousands of protesters converged on Connolly and Heuston stations in Dublin yesterday as part of the 9th national demonstration against the water charges. The demonstration was called by Right2Water, the umbrella group of left wing political parties and trade unions, as part of an effort to pressurise the government to abandon their attempts to implement water charges.
Local anti-water charge groups, trade unions and political parties were in attendance, with speakers from other campaigns present also. Vera Twomey spoke on her ongoing campaign to access treatment for her seriously ill daughter, who desperately requires regular access to the currently restricted cannabis based CBD oil to treat her epilepsy.
National Bus and Railworkers Union representative Mike Fitzgerald spoke on the continuing industrial action taking place in the transport network and how workers have no choice but to strike in the face of massive proposed cutbacks.
This deliberate under-investment in a vital public service is a tried and tested method of softening it up for privatisation. Notably, the very presence of a public transport utility is due to the historic failure of the preceding private sector companies to provide the necessary services to the public.
While the State continues to pursue a neo-liberal privatisation strategy for transferring public wealth to the billionaire class, working class organisers must be as persistent in opposing that strategy, while building our own capacities to move towards a society that is geared towards providing for need, not for greed.
Footage from behind the main stage of some of the thousands of people out protesting water charges
It now looks likely that the attempt to introduce a water charge, leading to water privatisation has been knocked back.
This was a mass campaign, 70% of the population were involved in the boycott at peak and protests took place on the streets and in communities all over the country. Hundreds were criminalised through being arrested at the protests. It's essential that charges are dropped and an amnesty declared for all those who took part in this mass campaign that involved most people in the country at peak.
Footage of the anarchist bloc on the anti-water charges march
On Saturday 8th April we took to the streets of Dublin once more in what may well be the final march against the water charges. Although it looks like victory on abolishing the charge is near it’s important not to lose sight of the need for an ongoing campaign demanding amnesty for all those facing prosecution for their role in the struggle.
The WSM handed out hundreds of these leaflets yesterday during the anti-water charges demo and they seemed to be fairly popular! If you would like to help distribute leaflets and/or meet up with us on May 1st as part of the May Day march this year, why not register as a WSM Contact