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My perspective from the front line
Because last night was a bit hectic, some of my chronology might be a little mixed up, but i'll try to tell it exactly how i remember.
(would have posted this as a comment but didnt want it buried under a load of right wing trolling comments)
The wombles, and members of the DGN who decided to join them, did nothing more than they said they were going to do and they weren't violent. There was a confrontation, the black/padded bloc wanted to push its way through the lines of the police who were blocking the road. At this stage we were not "just yards" as the media are reporting, from farmleigh, we couldn’t even see the gates of the park, I would guess we were at least a kilometre away, if not more.
As we approached the uniformed police we walked a few metres then stopped and then a few metres more and stopped. This, I believe, was because the media were in the way and would have been in danger if we had continued all the way to the line. When we reached the police we attempted to push our way through. There were no punches thrown or kicks nor was there anything thrown (that I could see) it was just two blocks of people linking arms pushing towards each other. We wanted to continue up the road, they wanted to stop us...
The police line wasn't very strong and was about to break. This was probably expected by the cops, they used the first line of unarmed uniformed police as a PR tactic and the fact that they risked this means that they must not have thought us to be violent people. (If we really were terrorists and thugs things would have been very different)
The uniformed police line only lasted about a minute or two. while we were pushing against them there were quite a few people between the padded bloc and the police who really shouldn't have been there, they were totally against any kind of squaring up to the police, but they had every chance to get out of the way.
The riot police very quickly replaced the uniformed cops (their lines formed a few yards behind the uniformed police and then the uniformed police ran away) this meant that the front line was now had a few yards of no mans land.
Instantly the atmosphere changed quite significantly, especially as we could see the water cannons preparing to move in. people started to throw things, mostly empty cans of beer and a few cardboard placards. The riot police were meant to intimidate protestors.
Some protesters sat down on the road in front of the riot police and urged everyone to do the same. Members of the black bloc shouted to stand up because if you are baton charged while sitting down you're completely defenceless.
The black/padded bloc after a few moments of self searching decided to regroup and face off against the riot police. We occupied the right hand and middle of the street while on the left there were some people sitting down. We marched towards them and stopped a few feet away. This is when the riot cops moved forward and started to batton people. I saw a few people receive very nasty blows to the head at this point.
Then the water cannon was brought out and started to blast the people on the left side of the street. It was about 30 seconds before it targeted where I was, when it hit us it pushed us back, knocking some people off their feet and instantly soaking us completely with cold water. It was a bit of a shock, but once we had experienced the force of the water we knew what it was like and weren't afraid anymore. linked arms again, I don’t know how many of us, I could only see the 5 or 6 people directly next to me and I only had a good view of the eyes of my own personal riot cop in front of me (they were green)
We lined up against the cops again some people to my left received sneaky attacks with batons from behind the riot shields. One person had his arm severely broken. When this happened some people started kicking at the riot shields and we began to push against them, pushing hard for about 40-50 seconds (maybe more) the riot police were falling back slightly until someone got batoned and we lost our momentum, the cops pushed forward and batoned some more people.
Then they brought out the second water cannon and turned it on everybody including the assembled media and this pushed back the protestors a bit more at which point many people including me decided that enough was enough.
From where I was standing I did not see many missiles being thrown, a few crumpled up cans, but after I had left I noticed a few people in gardens throwing rocks. These people seemed to be drunk and weren't dressed much like black bloc people, though they were wearing masks. I also saw other people taking rocks off these people and pleading with them to stop throwing things. I think this was the consensus of the entire crowd. the very last thing we wanted people to do was to throw rocks or glass bottles from behind the front line even because of the simple fact that some of them were doomed to fall short and seriously injure the protestors most of who had no head protection. After I left and headed to find people I knew there were still confrontations with the police. This was probably when most of the people got arrested.
I didn’t see any violent or unacceptable behaviour from the people on the front line while I was there; it all seemed to be coming from people in the back and from members of the "gardai siochana".
I would make the point that we planned peaceful protests, the government and the media made it look like we were looking for trouble, so this might have attracted people who came to cause trouble.