This morning at 7.30 Dublin Shell to Sea members brought a taste of Mayo to Corrib House. Over 50 people took part in an ongoing blockade of the three entrances of the Shell HQ. The protest was peaceful with protesters linking arms and standing in front of the cars of employees as they attempted to enter the underground car park.
The first few managers got in as the protesters were perhaps caught out by a high level of Gardai aggression. Despite the warm morning several Gardai were observed pulling on heavy padded gloves, one lost it completely and was threatening to 'smash your face in' or 'sort you out afterwards' but most just confined themselves to trying to push the protesters out of the way of incoming cars.
The people of Mayo have been subjected to months of Gardai harrassment, checkpoints and confrontations at Shells behest. This morning Shells employees found out what it was like to face scuffles on the way into work. It was too much for most of them and they turned away.
At quarter to nine a Gardai got a car through by telling protesters the occupant was an RTE journalist but that was the last car in. Another spent three of four minutes trying to get in as protesters and Gardai scuffled all around them, one persons foot was ran over. Then they thought the better of it and drive off. At five to nine the same thing happened with another car until the senior Guard on duty ordered the drive to stop trying to get in and to drive off. After that Gardai checked all cars approaching the land and those containing Shell employees were directed to drive off.
Gardai was questioned as to why they were protecting the robbery of Irelands natural resources the profits of which could be used to fund health and education. They didn't seem to have an answer beyond saying the protest was illegal. A small group of secret police watched events from across the road but played no other part while I was there. At 9.20 the blockade was still in progress with only about half a dozen Shell employees having managed to get into the building.
More photos and audio recorded this morning to come