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Corrib Protests- If Tuesday Was Not Mad Enough Try Today

category mayo | miscellaneous | news report author Friday August 26, 2011 11:06author by Rossport SCauthor email rossportsolidaritycamp at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

MEP assaulted, work halted for six hours, campaigners drive into refinery and bounced back out again four hours later

Local Shell to Sea campaigners and their supporters at Rossport Solidarity Camp are resting after another bizarre day of lows, highs and outright idiocy during their ongoing protest against Shell in co. Mayo.

Dublin MEP Paul Murphy and supporters from the Socialist party joined the protest today
Dublin MEP Paul Murphy and supporters from the Socialist party joined the protest today

The day started unpromisingly with a 6am sortie against the compound at Aghoos seeking to exploit a couple of weak points in the fence. Shell's contractors Roadbridge and Shevlins are racing to finish the first bit of work in constructing the fencing and new entrance way. Every moment is counting for them. This left a couple of promising gaps which people from the camp sought to exploit in their dawn raid.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Security from IRMS were aggressive from
the beginning and were dragging people across hard-core and the road. Though the main target failed, a secondary one saw two people get in. As other weak points were probed, one protester who was on the road was deliberately charged from behind, tripping them face-first onto the road. This was all photographed; a complaint to a Sergeant imported from Galway was naturally treated with disdain, the gardaí happily taking their place as part of Shell's private security. This has already been reported to the Amnesty/Frontline human rights observer in the area and will be pursued.

People returned to camp to get a bit of rest and recuperate. Just before midday, Dublin MEP Paul Murphy (of the Socialist Party) and a number of supporters turned up. They were shown the camp and given an update as to how the campaign has been going.

While this was happening a group of people waited near the junction near Glenamoy, a key turning point for the vehicles coming between the refinery at Bellinaboy and the Aghoos compound. Most trucks and tractors along this route are escorted by gardaí, who have placed officers along this route, and whose vans regularly follow people walking it.

Despite all this attention from gardaí, quick thinking meant that one person was able to jump on top of a Barretts Quarry truck – the firm providing much of the hard-core – at around 1pm. It was a beautiful moment. Campers, locals, Paul Murphy & co all converged on the site. A good natured protest ensued, with people laughing, joking, singing, children making water balloons and the person on top of the truck giving us a rendition of “Which Side Are You On”, re-worded to take in Shell.

In the refinery a backlog of trucks and other vehicles began to build up. The public order team turned up with their cherry picker to remove the person on top of the truck. Those in the road sat down and formed two lines wrapping arms and legs around each other with the aim of stopping the cherry-picker coming in. The thugs from the public order team waded in, as ever, dragging people out, ripping clothing and using pressure points on the ear. Paul Murphy, who was involved in the line was among those assaulted in this fashion. Naturally he was livid. Word is that the story is going 'viral'.

Not to be deterred, after the person on the truck was removed and arrested, people decamped to the front of the refinery. Numbers grew to over 50 as more locals came to support. It was fantastic to see old faces again, something that really boosted the campers. It was clear there was a buzz despite the rain that came on. There was more playing in front of the gates, and a determination to resist in the air. For those who had been at the morning protest, it was such a lift. Gardaí and security stayed clear; the line of trucks backed up inside the refinery grew longer. The person who had been arrested was charged, released and came to join the protest.

Eventually Shell caved in. They parked up the trucks and shut up shop at Aghoos at 6.30pm. Though having pushed their workers to keep to the existing timetable, the day was lost to the campaigners. Fearing that they might try and take some of the vehicles out the back gate, people drove around, driving up close to the back gate. Two of these cars driven by locals (well known to security) and containing just as recognisable people were waved through the refinery gates by security. So, we suspect, heads are going to roll. One car drove around and back out again without security actually being aware of this. The other stayed in and drove around the refinery, two fingers up to all who think they can run rough-shod over the people of Erris. Naturally, the gardaí, late to the party this time, then began stopping workers going in. It was a great turn around to a long day. Now, for another planning meeting...

For Paul Murphy's own account see
http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/breaking-news-how-the-garda...sport

I was just about to finish this report when we heard... two IRMS (Shell's private security) minibuses were blocked for an hour. And the car was still in the refinery as of 8pm. So down we head again, barely finishing inner. Security had surrounded the car at the inner perimeter fence as it was trying to leave. For some very bizarre reason they would not let the car leave by the gate directly in front of it, but wanted it to go all the way to the back gate.

The occupants refused that option as they were worried they would be ambushed. A tractor was brought and attached to the back of the car by a rope. For the next hour and a half the car was bounced backwards across the site. The idiocy of the people doing this meant that the car was constantly bouncing and knocking against the back of the tractor. Once occupant phoned the gardaí for help but the person answering the 999 call laughed. It is not hard to see why the gardaí in Erris are not trusted by the people who live there.

By 9pm a crowd of locals and people from the camp had assembled outside the back gate in support. Numbers swelled to forty by 10pm when the tractor finally brought the car out - gardaí and security filled out into the road - the security clearly acting like cops again – pushing concerned friends and family away. It was a relief to see our friends safe again.

More photos and video from the day will be added soon.

A long, exhausting day, but amazing in so many unexpected ways. Welcome to Mayo.

Related Link: http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org

The sit down protest, aiming to stop the cherrypicker from removing the person from the lorry
The sit down protest, aiming to stop the cherrypicker from removing the person from the lorry

Gardaí using pressure points forcing people to release themselves
Gardaí using pressure points forcing people to release themselves

Dublin MEP Paul Murphy being dragged away
Dublin MEP Paul Murphy being dragged away

Paul Murphy looking for answers from the guards
Paul Murphy looking for answers from the guards

author by Rossport SCpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:08author email rossportsolidaritycamp at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

From 6.00am to 9.30am this morning, three campaigners occupied Aghoos Road, as part of the ongoing protests against the controversial Shell refinery at Bellinaboy. They formed a triangle in the middle of the road using a set of especially made arm-tubes. This action follows on from yesterday, which saw the Gardai assault Dublin MEP Paul Murphy during a sit-down protest at the same part of the road. The protest stopped a number of Shell's construction vehicles reaching their destination at Aghoos. All three have been arrested and taken to Belmullet.
From 6.00am to 9.30am this morning, three campaigners occupied Aghoos Road, as part of the ongoing protests against the controversial Shell refinery at Bellinaboy. They formed a triangle in the middle of the road using a set of especially made arm-tubes. This action follows on from yesterday, which saw the Gardai assault Dublin MEP Paul Murphy during a sit-down protest at the same part of the road. The protest stopped a number of Shell's construction vehicles reaching their destination at Aghoos. All three have been arrested and taken to Belmullet.

One of those occupying the road said, “I'm doing this in support of a similar protest that took place in Broome Community, Australia last night. This is a powerful way to show that struggles from Ogoniland in Nigeria, to the Tar Sands in Canada, Australia, to Erris, Mayo and now to Australia are linked in common cause. Once we heard about the Broome Community actions we had to show solidarity. It feels really powerful to be part of this.”

The Broome Community are opposing a gas project that parallels the situation in north-west Mayo. Like Mayo, Shell is one of the companies being resisted by local communities. Links between the two communities are being established, and award winning film “The Pipe”, which documents the Mayo situation is being shown at events in Australia.

Yesterday saw a series of events targeting the Shell refinery in Aghoos and Bellinaboy. The Rossport Solidarity Camp was visited by Paul Murphy, MEP who came to learn more about local community resistance to the project. While taking part in a peaceful sit-down protest in front of a truck he was assaulted and had his clothes torn by gardai.

Con Coughlan, from the Camp said, “The determination we are feeling is incredible; knowing that people in Australia were doing their protests while we were doing ours was inspiring for us all. We send our best wishes out to them.”

ENDS

*FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:*
Rossport Solidarity Camp 085 1141170

Notes
1. For more information on the Broome Community protests see http://handsoffcountry.blogspot.com/

2. For reports of events on Thursday, 25th August, see

Related Link: http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org
author by Rossport SCpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:07Report this post to the editors

For an account of Thursday's events see
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100407 and
http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/breaking-news-how-the-garda...sport

author by photospublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 17:31Report this post to the editors

first two photos are from the road with the person on top of the truck, the second two photos are from outside the refinery later on

Our secret weapon
Our secret weapon

Garda Carl Murray MY283 being violent
Garda Carl Murray MY283 being violent

At the refinery after 3pm
At the refinery after 3pm

peek-a-boo
peek-a-boo

Caption: Paul Murphy MEP & other peaceful protesters attacked by Gardaí


author by photospublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 18:20Report this post to the editors

these are photos from the 6am trespass attempt on Thursday, two people got into the compound but most people were just assaulted by IRMS on the road

IRMS assaulting people on the public road
IRMS assaulting people on the public road

the person after being pushed over by IRMS
the person after being pushed over by IRMS

 
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