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Of Black Arts, Black Blocs, and Black Popes(MIA) - Shannon

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday December 08, 2003 02:06author by Maratist - Conspiratorially Skulking Collective Report this post to the editors

Yet another Shannon report

Report on the action at Shannon last weekend, plus irrelevant complaints about travelling back and forth, conspiritorial analysis to follow later......

In a change to my usual schedule I travelled down to Shannon from the east this time, and I’ve got to say fair play to anyone from Dublin who makes the trip down. Being stuck on a bus in the midlands for hours dying for a piss, a shit and a smoke, on the way to meet a bunch of riot pigs, is an annoyance of near Genoan proportions.

And meandering around Limerick in a lost bus doesn’t really fall under unscheduled scenic route.

Got word on the way down that the Galway bus had been searched.

A lot of poster paint was seized by the police as weapons so too was that lethal instrument of death wielded by Western hippiedom – a magic fairy wand.

Little do the police realise though, for any hazel tree in the Shannon area will, in the right hands, suffice to manufacture a wand capable of smothering big ugly things in dark armour beneath rays of light. Surface to air wands, for taking care of police helicopters, are readying in the cauldron even as we speak. As they are too dumb to notice the weapons being illegally brought into Shannon all the time, like what is it we are protesting against, it is only fair to give them advance notice of the supernatural power that will be unleashed against them should they persist.

Subsequently Ireland’s finest were to stop most of the other buses – they took a load of ‘Free Fintan Lane’ posters from the Cork lot, and sticks for banners and placards off pretty much everyone else. This was totally petty harassment, ANYTHING could have been concealed on the bus I was on, and although they were stopping cars – at least one well known peace activist accidentally drove right up to the terminal building!

Well we started off, and being a bit late I and a few other stragglers managed to miss most of the troublemaking lot, who were lost in bushes somewhere, in either cunning subterfuge or an attempt to storm a nearby housing estate. Once everyone was on the road we ran for the right set of bushes, adjoining part of the industrial estate, which in turn is beside both airport’s the perimeter fence and the alternative route into the airport, through which the police were diverting traffic.
Gave a TV crew amusing footage of bacon slipping, and falling over themselves, in frantic attempts to catch up with us, but we didn’t get very far.

Now for reasons beyond me the IAWM marched up to where we all knew before hand, and before it was even published in the Irish Times for christsake, there would be the police blockade preventing people from getting as far as the archways. The archway is where there is only one road into the airport, and obviously therefore it is where the airport is most easily blocked, prevented from getting there we would have to blockade a number of points.

One particular roundabout was held by the most beautifully diverse mob I have seen in a long time. The IAWM was at another roundabout on the same road – we were at our roundabout on the understanding that they would take a roundabout on the parallel road thus blocking the diversion route through the industrial estate. I’m not sure what went on at this other roundabout.

Anyways I don’t think a blockade is a particularly good idea, and as the point of it is to cost the state money – which we did, I wasn’t that bothered. Indeed I was quite happy indulging my favourite pastime of annoying policemen, alongside everything from colourful fairies to masked up punk rockers to clerics to food not bombs purveyors to hair cut victims. The cops made desultory attempts to move traffic through our roundabout, including their own, leading to the beautiful sight of a police van being cornered betwixt the black bloc and a pensioner in a wheelchair.

Various wee groups scattered about in a variety of different directions during the day, in a diversionary tactic. Exploiting any targets of opportunity, as it were, that came our way,. But any such effort I was involved in met quickly with the bacon blanket.

There was exemplary de-arresting everywhere I could see – I wasn’t there when one guy was successfully arrested, so cannot comment in that case. This is a great advance.

On our way back from the roundabout, a bunch of people went up over the footbridge, for reasons unbeknownst to me. Ahh well, got to make the cops work for their overtime.

Night fell as we approached where massed ranks of police lay, protecting where our blocked off road met the open road. A long stretch of empty motorway shrouded in still darkness with glistening riot shields at one end, and at the other a formation of protestors, arms linked, led by a lone flag bearer.

Got up to their lines, there was a bit of pushing and shoving, and verbal abuse, of little import, some of us got our shins kicked and one of them got a sanitary pad affixed to his riot shield. So now everyone knows what the menstruation workshop at the Grassroots Gathering was about!

Back in the LIDL carpark I heard the news from legal support that Eoin Rice, aka the Black Pope, had been arrested in the morning, nearby the airport.

So the day was not over, time for the latest instalment of the trials and tribulations of Mangan, judge, jury and sherry guzzler.

Yes, yet more farcical proceedings in Tulla District Court. Possibly the only courthouse in the world where the judge is told the hearing is at six (or so he claimed), the defendant at seven and the police arrive for it at six thirty. Consequently the defendant was left with out legal representation, his brief arrived at seven.

Garda demanded a order of remanding in custody – i.e. that Eoin be flung in Limerick, the Judge denied this and set bail at five euros. Eoin took this, under protest, as his constitional rights to legal representation were being denied.

Then, after the hearing, Martin, of the Catholic Worker spud planting division, who entered the airport grounds last Good Friday, went up to hand himself in to custody, seeking to make the legal system aware that he hadn’t paid his fine, and thus was supposed to be in prison. “Really, that’s interesting” was Mangan’s retort, as he walked out as if he were oblivious.
So Martin was not put in jail, despite walking straight into the courthouse in which he was sentenced and offering himself up.

And after all this I managed to get lost in a soulless housing estate, before finally finding my couch for the night. It was a long day.

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