Juvenal talks about the second protest of the last week. This one ended better.
It was a fitting end to an exciting and turbulent week. Wednesday November 10 saw a peaceful protest march organised by Free Education for Everyone (FEE) and Students in Solidarity (SIS) against the violence directed towards students who participated in the sit-in and protest at the Dept. of Finance during the USI National Student March the week previous.
Braving the dropping temperatures, a crowd of students and supporters (many from NUI Maynooth) numbering between 500-700 marched from the Wolfe Tone statute near the Dept. Finance to Pearse Street Garda station led by a banner, which said “End Garda Brutality”. No political flags or banners were present although some left-wing literature was circulated amongst the crowd prior to beginning.
The march was lively and passed without any incident. Chants such as “whose streets? Our streets” was often heard along with other anti-cuts chants heard at the march the previous week. A student from NCAD dressed as a riot guard attracted much camera flashes and cheers from the crowd. There was minimal Garda presence along the route and the march was left to run its natural course, which culminated in speeches outside the Garda Station.
Of those to speak, NUIM student and FEE activist Donal Fallon led the proceedings with another NUIM student Aidan Rowe was among the speakers. He was one of a number of NUIM student activists who had taken part in the sit-in. Vanessa O’Sullivan, one of those who suffered injuries at the hands of the Public Order Unit also spoke of her experiences claiming “all that I am guilty of is walking into a public building and sitting down”. Others to speak included former USI Officer Dan O’Neill and a member of the Dublin Shell to Sea Group who spoke on behalf to those who have been suffering Garda violence in Co. Mayo for the last number of years.
The once off protest can be viewed as drawing to a conclusion the incidents that marked November 3rd. As of now, of the 36 complaints made to the Garda Ombudsman, 19 of those are to be investigated. Of the three students arrested, two have been charged and will appear in court later this month.
The protest can also be seen as a positive for FEE and SIS who in the aftermath of the occupation were branded by much in the media as well as USI president Gary Redmond as being fronts for left-wing and nationalist organisations such as the S.W.P and Éirígí. While some of these members were in the crowd on Wednesday they made up a very small minority of a peaceful crowd.
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