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Three Occupy Campaigners Arrested For "criminal damage using chalk" As Crackdown On Democratic Right To Protest Peacefully Continues In Galway

category national | anti-capitalism | news report author Friday May 18, 2012 15:54author by Occupy Galway - (Occupy Galway) Report this post to the editors

Deprived of signs and art materials, the good people of Occupy Galway came into possession of some chalk. Chalk of every colour is used by children in towns and villages across the country every day to draw the likes of hopscotch boards, noughts and crosses or just idly scribble away a sunny afternoon. It is also used by buskers in cities around the world, who draw fabulous pictures for passers-by to enjoy. One of the joys of chalk that is appreciated by Occupiers is that it causes no damage and is efficiently removed by mother nature in our frequent downpours.

It was in this spirit that we began to decorate the grey stone substation that was the back wall of our office before the destruction of the camp. Familiar slogans like “No To Austerity” and “IMF OUT” as well as more pertinent messages like “Constitutional Rights and Due Process R.I.P. Oct. 15-May 16”, began to appear. The grey and featureless substation soon became a monument to freedom of expression, as the many participants joined in the decoration.

We are more than just a building...
We are more than just a building...

The good people of Occupy Galway found themselves with a bit of a dilemma. The camp was destroyed, along with personal belongings and all of our wonderful signs, posters, flags and things that made the camp such a bright and welcoming spectacle. The whereabouts of much of our personal belongings is still a mystery, as neither Gardaí nor City Council seem to know anything about them.

Today we gathered where the camp used to be. There was no sense of loss or nostalgia. There was only a determination to continue our mission to inform the people of Galway of the inequities of our current corrupt system and the dangers posed by unelected and unaccountable technocrats in Europe if the Fiscal Compact Treaty is passed in the upcoming referendum.

Deprived of signs and art materials, the good people of Occupy Galway came into possession of some chalk. Chalk of every colour is used by children in towns and villages across the country every day to draw the likes of hopscotch boards, noughts and crosses or just idly scribble away a sunny afternoon. It is also used by buskers in cities around the world, who draw fabulous pictures for passers-by to enjoy. One of the joys of chalk that is appreciated by Occupiers is that it causes no damage and is efficiently removed by mother nature in our frequent downpours.

It was in this spirit that we began to decorate the grey stone substation that was the back wall of our office before the destruction of the camp. Familiar slogans like “No To Austerity” and “IMF OUT” as well as more pertinent messages like “Constitutional Rights and Due Process R.I.P. Oct. 15-May 16”, began to appear. The grey and featureless substation soon became a monument to freedom of expression, as the many participants joined in the decoration. One of our number was approached by Gardaí and threatened with arrest, but when we argued our point that the chalk had caused no damage, they relented and withdrew.

A short time later a road sweeper pulled up and council workers attempted to wash the chalk off with a power hose. We sat peacefully along the wall until they relented and withdrew.

We continued our day with a small assembly that mostly involved planning the continuance of the NO Campaign and further plans to highlight the on-going madness of the bailouts.
Chalk being plentiful, assembly was followed by an impromptu game of hopscotch.

We all noticed the squad car pull up on the plaza. There had been a large Garda presence all day, so no one took any notice as they got out and watched us go about our business. I saw one of our members talking to them.(nothing strange there as we have always maintained good relations with the Gardaí.) Then I heard a cry of alarm and turned to see the aforementioned Occupier being handcuffed and led to the patrol car. I asked why he was being arrested and was told “Criminal damage. He was seen on CCTV writing on the wall with chalk.” I looked around to see a paddy wagon had pulled up as well, and other people were being arrested for the same offence. Three Occupiers were arrested for the “criminal damage” of writing on a wall with chalk the day after our tents and personal possessions were forcibly taken and destroyed by Gardaí and City Council.
I don’t know how to expess my anger at this injustice without getting arrested, as it seems that even peaceful protest is now illegal.

There is the question of the use of Garda resources. It seems to me that an awful lot of Gardaí spent an awful big part of their working day policing a small group of protesters armed with chalk, yet still failed to prevent the crime of chalking. Three people were arrested, two were charged with criminal damage and one was cautioned.

Where is our democratic right to freedom of expression?.
Where is our democratic right to property?.
Where is our democratic right to protest peacefully?
And where the fuck is all our stuff!!

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post eviction assembly meeting
post eviction assembly meeting

author by gav - n/apublication date Sat May 19, 2012 11:30Report this post to the editors

Removal of Occupy Galway camp

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/letters/index.html#1224316357181
author by Occupy Dame Streetpublication date Sat May 19, 2012 17:43Report this post to the editors

Most people in Dublin Occupy will get their reveng by voting no to their upcoming Euro Treaty and default on their bondholder and banker debts. I am sure galway occupy will also be taking the opportunity to vote no to the Euro currency and treaty. Its the best chance for the 99% to get them back.

author by leftypublication date Mon May 21, 2012 00:03Report this post to the editors

Interview with Noam Chomsky in which he discusses occupy movement amongst other things:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/30/talking-with-cho...msky/

 
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