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Shell Survey Work Disrupted
Thursday February 24, 2011 15:21 by J Debender - Rossport Solidarity Camp
This Wednesday 23 February four people from the Rossport Solidarity Camp went down to the beach in Aughoos to disrupt the survey work going on on the public beach, and one person was arrested.
Survey work disrupted!
The protesters simply stood in front of Shell's surveying tripods which are for testing ground levels in order to disrupt the readings.
At one stage some of the IRMS private security began shoving one of the protesters away from one of the surveying tripods and in the scuffle the security guard kicked the tripod over.
The workers gave up trying to do their survey work while the protesters were there and sat down for sandwiches while they waited for the gardaí to arrive. Garda Hugh Egan, MY150 Garda Liam O'Riordan, and MY165 Garda Joe Keane arrived and spoke with the Shell workers, who claimed that the tripod had been knocked over by one of the protesters. The guards then arrested the protester for criminal damage. They put the protester in handcuffs and carried the person all the way from the beach to the road in a way that was very painful and not safe for the protester. It is the gardai's responsibility to ensure that someone who has been arrested is moved safely, however this maneuver was reckless.
The law allows the gardaí to take fingerprints for criminal damage allegations, and since arrests for protesting in Mayo are generally public order charges, it is likely that the guards saw this as an opportunity to get this protester's fingerprints.
In the garda station in Belmullet, force was used to get the person's fingerprints, but after 15 minutes of using physical force and only getting one fingerprint, the guards gave up and released the person without charges.
The protesters who were still on the beach were joined by a few others, and remained there to ensure the survey work would not start up again. The Shell workers packed up their surveying equipment and left for the day.
This survey work is likely to continue in the next week or two, and so will the protests.
For anyone thinking about visiting the area, get in touch with the camp at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved or have any questions.
Shell workers talking to the gardaí
Dragging the protester while in handcuffs