Gardai break up peaceful protest outside Israeli Embassy sponsored film festival
rights, freedoms and repression |
Thursday November 24, 2011 22:07 by Kev - IPSC
A protest outside the Israeli Embassy sponsored “Israeli Film Days” in Temple Bar turned acrimonious this evening when Gardai broke up a peaceful demonstration by pro-Palestinian activists outside the venue. Citing Section 21 of the Public Order Act, Gardai forcibly removed around sixty activists from the area outside the venue, Filmbase, on Curved Street in Temple Bar, while others were removed from inside the venue.
Image copyright, Paul Reynolds - http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_reynolds/
Prior to the removal, the protestors had gathered to chant slogans
and hand out leaflets explaining why they were opposed to the event.
Between 5.30 and 6.40pm the activists held a loud, colourful, vibrant
and entirely peaceful protest outside.
By this time the majority of
those attending the event had entered without incident – including the
Tanaiste and Foreign Minister, Eamon Gilmore, and Justice Minister Alan
Shatter, and it was at this time – after everyone inside had gone
downstairs into the cinema area – that Gardai began to forcibly remove
the protest from the street.
After being forced off Curved Street, the
protest found itself split into two crowds, on Temple Lane Street and
Those on Temple Lane Street were pushed further down the street by a
Garda ‘security line’, at which pointed they marched around Temple Bar
and linked up with their colleagues on Eustace Street. At this point,
they were again pushed back by the Gardai, and a megaphone was seized
from Dr. Fintan Lane of the Irish Ship To Gaza campaign while he was
making a speech. After this the protest dispersed, while the megaphone
remains in Garda custody.
A lawyer present on the scene, Gary Daly, said: “I
am very unhappy with the way the Gardai made the decision to forcibly
move the protestors away from the venue, in the process manhandling
them, when it was clearly a peaceful protest where there was no hint of
trouble, and protestors had complied with any previous request made of
them by the Gardai”.
Mr. Daly continued: “A particularly disturbing
incident was the way in which a megaphone was seized by a senior Garda
from Dr. Fintan Lane while he was in the process of making a speech to
the assembled protestors, regarding his violent and illegal kidnapping
in international waters and subsequent detention, along with 13 other
Irish citizens, by Israeli forces two weeks ago”.
Meanwhile, inside the venue, several pro-Palestinian activists
attempted to highlight the fact that this film festival was an exercise
in propaganda and whitewashing of Israeli human rights abuses and
Apartheid practices. According to those inside, when the organisers
called for silence the demonstration was clearly audible outside, and
was being furiously discussed by those in attendance.
After people inside descended into the cinema area, where the
demonstration was no longer audible or visible, the Israeli Ambassador,
Boaz Modai, began his address to the audience. At this point a young man
unfurled a Palestinian flag and began chanting “Free, Free, Gaza!” He
was manhandled by security and ejected from the building. Immediately
afterwards a female protestor began chanting and was also removed from
Following this, another female protestor began making a
speech, and was then removed along with three of her companions. At this
point, the Ambassador said to the crowd that “now that the riff raff
have gone” there was more free seating.
This comment was met with a round of applause, only to have it
followed by another interruption from a senior member of the
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign who declared: “Israel is an
Apartheid state that should be boycotted. Israel represses Palestinian
culture, yet uses culture to whitewash its own crimes. I ask people here
to leave this event, which is a fig leaf for the ethnic cleansing of
the Palestinian people”. This protestor was then carried out by security
while continuing his speech.
IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley said: “I am
appalled that both the Tanaiste, and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Eamon Gilmore, and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter attended this
whitewashing of Israeli apartheid. I am also appalled at the treatment
of entirely peaceful protestors by the Gardai who are supposed to uphold
civil liberties such as the right to protest – not act to limit this
Mr. O’Quigley continued: “As bad as what we saw
tonight was, it is as nothing when compared to the daily treatment of
the Palestinian people living under Israel’s Apartheid system. Despite
the heavy-handedness of the Gardai, we think our protest tonight was a
very important showing of solidarity with the people of Palestinian
whose human, national and democratic rights are denied them by the
Israeli state. Both the protest itself – inside and outside – and the
heavy police presence helped to de-normalise this event, which was our
aim – to show that there is nothing normal or acceptable about Israeli
Dr. Raymond Deane, Cultural Boycott Officer of the IPSC stated:
“Over the weekend, the IPSC aims to continue our protests outside this
Israeli Embassy sponsored festival, which is nothing more that the abuse
of culture as cover for the crimes and breaches of international law
committed by the Israeli state on a daily basis.”
[Note: For details of the full schedule of upcoming actions, see: http://www.ipsc.ie/event/dublin-nov-24-27-protest-the-i...mbase
For photos, see http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/gardai-break-up-peace...tival