Padraig McCarrick reports from the ground
As I walked from Connolly Station over towards Dame Street yesterday, I soon became quite excited. All of a sudden, sirens were heard and the motorbikes of the Guards were driving past me and across the Liffey. “Shit’s gone down” I thought. When I did arrive at Dame Street, quite out of breath, the scene to which I expected was, thankfully, was not the case. Recent protests and marches that i’ve attended over the last few years have always contained, for me anyways, a tense atmosphere. The heavy Gardaí presence and the understandable anger of those protesting became part of the parcel when protesting during the dying days of the Fianna Fail regime. Even the ‘carnival athmosphere’ that USI hoped to achieve last November quickly gained these tense attributes, but we know that story already.
I hung around Dame Street for only a small while last saturday, but the situation was different. The organsers pride themselves on not being affiliated with any political organisations and while the usual heads of the left have been down at various stages, the movement for the most part remains neutral.The presence of the Gardaí have been another interesting aspect. When I first got there at 4 o’clock yesterday, less than half a dozen strolled around the peripehries. By 6, they were gone with recent updates suggesting a limited presence untill now. The live stream from Dame Street has confirmed that there is no Gardaí present at this time. The real question however will arise when it comes to tomorrow morning however as of tonight, the entrance to the building is clear.
On Saturday night, many of the protesters stayed with the group fluctuating between 30-70 people. Crowds have continued to stay in that number today as people come and go to get supplies. Calls for those coming to Dame Street either Sunday or Monday are to bring supplies including food, water and a generator.The reaction by many online including Twitter and Facebook have been extremely supportive of the action and it does look like the movement could grow over the course of the week. The stream however has pointed out that no clear leadership is evident in the group and if it is to continue, a clear agenda and plan will be needed in order for it to survive.Follow the stream here http://www.livestream.com/OccupyDameStreet
Follow on twitter with the hashtag #occupydamestreet