WSM condemns police violence against students

Date:

The WSM has released a press statement condemning the Garda attacks on student protesters in Dublin today during which many students were injured by Garda batons.  We say that we need to stand together in this period of attack on our quality of life and futures. What is clear today that like elsewhere around Europe and the rest of the world, police repression will be used by the state to try an make our movements for social justice and equality fearful and less open and effective.

For an account of the protests as they happened with videos see Riot police attack students after they storm Department of Finance in Dublin



WSM Condemns Police Violence Against Students

WSM (Workers Solidarity Movement) Dublin - Issued 3rd November 2010
 
The WSM condemns in the strongest terms the police violence* against students on Dublin's Merrion Row earlier this afternoon. Several members of the organisation where 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 earlier today 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.[1]. 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.” [2]

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. The government talks about the value of education and a knowledge economy, whilst at the same time introduces measures that mean access to education will price the poor, jobless and precarious out of education. It is ridiculous to even call these registration fees. How can it cost over €1500 to register for anything, now this is set to rise to €3000. 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. We have seen the usual attempt to divide people into good protesters and bad protesters. We reject the statement of the USI leadership as ill-informed, short-sighted and reactionary. Perhaps if they looked at the bloodied faces and bruised bodies as footage comes in we will here a full retraction of the previous statement. The false divide of good/bad protester will not fool the 100's of thousands of people across the country who now suffer lower quality healthcare, education, workplace security and wages and will do so for at least a decade.

“These fee rises are completely unneeded.” Malone continues, “Why not set a maximum personal income of €150,000, for example. Tax the rest at 100% and use it to pay for a quality of life for the vast majority , instead of cutting public services that we use and need as human beings..Who can seriously say they need more than that to live on. Or why not use the billions of Euros oil and gas of the coast of Ireland . The government says they have no options. Perhaps if they listened to us instead of beating us up, we all might actually move towards more just and equal society”

Malone concludes “We need to stand together in this period of attack on our quality of life and futures. Why should we pay for the greed of a rich gambling elite? What is clear today that like elsewhere around Europe and the rest of the world, police repression will be used by the state to try an make our movements for social justice and equality fearful and less open and effective. We should meet this aggression head on with our solidarity and desire for genuine democracy – be that in our educational institutions, in our communities and in our workplaces. Our taxes may be used pay the wages of men in masks and sticks. But we won't be intimidated and beaten off the streets where we live, where we work or where we choose to make our demands and desires visible.”
 

Statement Ends
 

*Footage Links
[1] 0-10 secs Police violently throw students to the ground, one striking their head.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWact2StAks&feature=player_embedded#
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[2]Random batoning of students by police as they are sitting on the ground offing no resistance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-REt8kCjCRo&feature=player_embedded

 
1.07 Person being taken by a away from police after a head injury
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-REt8kCjCRo&feature=player_embedded#
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Closer up of injuries
http://free-education.info/video-gardai-baton-students-in-sit-down-protest/

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