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Pictures of Shell to Sea Protest at Erris Refinery Site, Friday Morning Sept 14th
Sunday September 16, 2007 23:05 by NMI
Some pictures to show what it was like on Friday morning.
A fairly random selection, but perhaps they'll do, to give a flavour of the event, and people who were there can add their own accounts of the day.
Mine would be (briefly) I arrived at the site at 6.30AM or so. Driving past gate number two, we were stopped and searched by a number of members of the Garda Siochána. We noticed jeeps carrying Shell workers going into the site were not being stopped.
We went to Gate one as arranged and had a look around. Some of our group had not been to the site before, or had visited under very different circumstances, so even though it was dark it was good to have a calm look around.
We were soon joined by a few local people who we knew, and then some folks from Galway, and then lots more local people, and pretty soon the place was buzzin with about 200 hundred protesters jammed into the area in front of the gate and standing around the trailer. The GS were only in evidence in small numbers, and mostly staying in their cars.
The atmosphere was very good, with cups of tea being passed out and flyers being distributed. Someone gave us a photocopy of the words to a song they thought we could sing if we got bored, another a leaflet on Shell safety problems around the world. People were standing up and looking over the wall into the refinery.
At about 8.20 I saw a person who was being lifted up by a friend to look over the wall being struck by an object which looked to me like an iron bar, which was being held by someone on the Shell side of the fence. They was some sort of scuffle as the protesters grabbed the object and got it over the fence, while others scrambled or fell into the refinery itself.
More protesters joined those who were on the Shell side of the wall, and a few members of the GS ran into the protest group. One protester -at least- tried to complain about being struck by the security guards inside but were ignored. A few more protesters got over the fence. Someone pointed out to me that those inside were now in danger, so the best course of action would be to try and force the door of the site.
A few people managed to do this by simply pushing it in unison, and a small group went inside the site fence. Others actually left the site, and others stayed in the doorway.
I was surprised to see that the security guards inside had an array of iron bars and sticks to hand. Some members of the GS arrived and tried to close the door, but a number of protesters prevailed on them to open it to allow people free access to leave if they wanted to. However, many more people went inside the site than left. I'm certain some were pushed inside by the crush, and others simply didn't know what was going on and followed the crowd. There were no signs saying "no entry" on the outside wall, or if there were they were obscured by the crowd. The Garda Siochana members inside seemed not to know what to do. Some were very hesitant, others very aggressive.
Gardaí with video cameras were present, but they did not seem to show the same zeal as usual in their efforts. Perhaps they are simply tiring of the exercise, and the novelty of the camera work has worn off. Perhaps they have become worried by recent court cases where the video evidence has been more helpful to the defence than the the Garda side.
The door to the site was eventually shut, barring the protesters inside from leaving of their own free will.
Some caught just inside were attacked by the Gardaí and received injuries for which at least one received first aid when he eventually managed to allow the GS members to open the gate to let him out.
Meanwhile, a large number of protesters still inside the site were finding that there were many more GS members inside, including heavily armed riot police with no ID numbers on their paramilitary style uniforms.
After a long while, protesters were seen being beaten and carried out of the site by a large force of GS who then surrounded the demonstrators outside the main gate. Those who had been stranded on the refinery site showed evidence of injuries received from the GS members. Some protesters were driven out in the back of a police van and dumped in the roadway. We heard others had been arrested.
Everyone then sat down on the cement floor and a few letters of support were read out and a local man made a brief speech.
After a while a single Shell lorry was driven in to the site, its path being cleared by the GS pushing the protesters out of the way of the gate with extreme force. I did not see any serious resistance to being moved by any protester.
Some people then tried their best to get down to the bridge and the crossroads at gate number two, but were met by a large number of GS members who tried to block road access to pedestrians.
Protesters argued their way through by pointing out that the action of blocking the road was illegal. Others simply walked across the bog around the police.
At the bridge there was another large force of GS members who very forcefully cleared the roadway for trucks and jeeps. It was obvious that gate number two was being used to access the site by lorries, cement trucks and jeeps. Those who tried to block the path of the lorries, and some who were simply standing in the roadway, were attacked and pushed to the side by the Gardaí.
The atmosphere remained fractious and difficult, and it was only due to the extreme restraint shown by the demonstrators the situation remained reasonably calm. Some members of the Garda Siochána were clearly under severe strain, others seemed barely aware of what was happening, laughing and giggling like schoolboys.
Sadly, I had to leave the area at this point. I'm sure other people will have had very different experiences, and will have perhaps seen things that contradict what I saw.
I can only say what I saw with my own eyes, and report the truth as I believe it happened although I have kept in mind that people may not want to have their names mentioned or their actions catalogued in great detail since no doubt legal cases will follow on from the events of last Friday morning at Ballinaboy.
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another pic of Fri Morning
My Sept 14 experience.
I'm posting a few pics of my bruises 4 days later ( I know many have worse). The bruises on my arm were delivered by a zealous security guard as I made my way to the inner green spikey fence, he was a man in his 50s or there about with grey hair and a nice round belly. he was pulled off me by a local man who asked him if he enjoyed beating up women (thank you mystery man). After which I made my way over the green fence and into the inner sanctum of the refinery. After wandering around the site playing cat and mouse with members of the Guardai we were rounded up into a group of about 30-40 where we decided to have a sit down. After about 15 min of sitting and getting some much needed water the guards began getting aggressive. It started with a woman being hastled by a few guardi trying to take her camera I heard one of them saying " get that f$%ing camera" at which point the guards started pulling us around. I was dragged about 20 meters by two guards and when they tired out called to their minions for help at which point I had my legs stomped on and kicked apart (how I got me bruises) at the same time another male guard twisted my arm behind my back and said he was going to "f"£$ing break it". At which point I tried to get to my feet and was pushed down again, I did manage to get up eventually and was walked and pushed to the gates. I also saw from some distance the incident where a protester was kicked on the ground and chucked horizontially into a guarda van.
I also met a guy from belfast who had a strangulation bruise around his neck.
Once we were outside the gates and in the media glare the guards seemed less anxious to batter people. I hope there is some good footage from inside the gates. I do have the number of the guard who stomped and kicked my legs apart.
Anyway hope all of ye are well and home safe and sound.
bruised bingo wings
Make sure you write down your experiences to use as witness statements and to malke complaints
You can make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in the following ways:
Call into our headquarters at 150 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
To the Garda Commissioner or any member of An Garda Síochána at any Garda Station
To any member of An Garda Síochána at or above the rank of Chief Superintendent at any place
Send your complaint in writing to 150 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
or by fax to 01 814 70 23
Online by using the online complaints form
By Phone to LoCall 1890 600 800
Once again,don't trespass,obey the law and you won't have to be forcibly removed.
A shell PR person (Terry Nolan?) was on the RTE news on Friday saying that the majority of the local community supported Shell. He stated this as a fact. However, he must know that the local Parish Priest, Fr Nallen, said at the oral hearing earlier this year that the majority of the local people in Kilcommon DID NOT accept the project and were AGAINST it.
Surely even Shell accept that the Parish Priest would know what's happening in his own parish than they do?
So he went on national television to lie.
"obey the law and you won't have to be forcibly removed" or obey the law and be assaulted.
When we break the law we should be arrested and charged and not beaten.
Gards have no right to operate a no-arrest or selective-arrest policy for political reasons.
How npower lost its credibility over the Radley Lakes injunction:
"Through the looking glass
Except don’t call them that. The word “heavies” was frowned upon when I used it in an offhand way during conversation with npower’s press office. But let us face facts. There is a reason that npower’s lisping security firm Shercurity hire ex-soldiers, not ex-librarians. These are not men employed for their love of poetry or the opera. However strict their discipline and training may be, they are hired because they represent a potential threat of physical force, and are so plainly intended to intimidate. So the sight of these masked men presenting injunctions on members of the public under anti-harassment legislation transcends satire.
And let us not forget that the same security guards who found it distressing to be photographed, filmed and watched by protesters, were themselves photographing, filming and documenting what the protesters were doing."
Some video footage of people peacefully entering the site here: http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=RtLAwOE7t4s
It's a bit much to hear that the site has been "stormed" when it is quite clear to see that ordinary people were walking in through an open gate with cops present and not doing anything to stop them.
Is anyone else having promblems veiwing the first batch of pics
Here they are again
The video of the 'storming' of the Shell Refinery is comical. I cannot stop laughing at the fella in the yellow coat (the one that is not a member of the Unpeaceful Guardians). He reminds me of a farmer I knew once in my home village with his c'mon! c'mon!, c'mon will ye! - all he's short of is a big fat stick for prodding and he'd resemble someone herding cattle in, instead of a group of peaceful protestors ambly strolling into the site - they certainly were not moving quick enough for this fella ('storming' mo thóin!).
Well done to everyone who took part in the protest against Shell's refinery.
Oh dear! Am I the only one with a sense of humour around here? Just to clarify, I support the Shell to Sea campaign wholeheartedly and have attended several rallies and public meetings in Dublin and helped distribute leaflets in support of the men when they were imprisoned. I'm not ridiculing the campaign that would be ridiculous (I'd be ridiculing myself if I did) given that I support the Shell to Sea campaign wholeheartedly. I just found the video amusing, because I was expecting the video to portray a 'storming' of a different kind but all I saw in the clip was people ambling strolling into the site, with a very impatient and vocal man trying is hardest to speed them up to know avail.
Again, that youtube video shows protesters entering the first gate. It was the second gate that was actually stormed. Of course the submitter knows this
From the Oxford dictionary:
1 move angrily or forcefully in a specified direction.
2 (of troops) suddenly attack and capture (a place).
3 shout angrily.
Sounds like the guards.
Where's the video of the second 'storming' of the second Shell gate then, since you're such a big fan of it? Did all the peaceful protestors who were seen leisurely strolling into the site (in full view of a Garda leisurely strolling out of the site - obviously a local!), suddenly transform into 'storm troopers' further down the Shell gate obstacle course upon reaching the second gate? Anyone got a clip of the sequel to the first gate storming, I would be very grateful, as the first one was great 'gas', surely!
and where are all the video and pictures of garda brutatily?
Get ye to www.youtube.com, and take your pick.
And while you are on youtube,type in Shell to Sea in the "search" box and you'll get all the videos you can eat.
Now take your trolling elsewhere,this site is an improper forum for immature bumpkins like yourself.
it seems that even our local media have disserted us, midwest radio barley covered the protest, the western people dont mention it at all and the mayo advertiser leads with a shell story.
Why, would brutality on the 14th upset you more, S2S? It doesn't matter when or how often they use it, it's thuggish. Young guys out to make a name for themselves and old bullies who know nothing else. All taking their lead from a man who likes to kick people when they're down.