Independent Media Centre Ireland

News from Day of Solidarity against Shell in Bellinaboy

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Friday February 16, 2007 07:55author by Joe - WSM

The march in Bellinaboy is now taking place. Its reported by SMS that 300 are taking part and that the march is being tightly stewarded

More SMS and audio updates to follow

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author by Updatepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 07:43author address author phone


Protest mustering,

Shell workers already on site.

Nice weather for the carnival.

author by Indy reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:05author address author phone

600 people have gathered and the march has taken off.
The march is very heavily stewarded by local people.
Initial reports indicate a small Garda prescence but that the protest is 2kms from the Shell site at Bellinaboy.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:06author address author phone

Good Mayo turnout plus 90 from Dublin, and 50 from Cork, Seceral cars came from Dublin as well as the two buses. Not much sleep overnight

Currently marching towards the terminal, no Gardai as yet but lots of media. Expect to be stopped before they get to the terminal

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:10author address author phone

More people are joining the march, there are now around 400

author by Indy reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:23author address author phone

The much larger crowd has arrived at the refinery

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:26author address author phone

Arriving at refinery, demonstration has grown to 500 plus. At least some workers were snuck onto the site very early this morning, presumably to avoid any attempt to blockade. Gardai at the moment not blocking off entrance to refinery but a line of local stewards are in front of the refinery. Spriits are high and there are some drummers.


From another source at same time

Numbers are 500 to 600, rallying outside refinery, police standing off

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:39author address author phone

Speeches in progress, all is otherwise quiet. Work is continuing on the site itself

author by protestpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:44author address author phone

looks more like 300 to me, about 80 locals

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:52author address author phone

My figures are coming from two sources, one of whom is a journalist. They are similar to the figures indyreporter is getting.

More to the point all three of these are coming via SMS where as above 'protest' appears to somehow have internet access at the protest. You sitting in the Shell cabin inside the gate 'protest' or just making up numbers from elsewhere from elsewhere?

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:53author address author phone

600 people present, short rally at the gates is concluding, proposed to march away from the site.

author by let rte deciedepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:54author address author phone

watch the news

author by Indy reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 09:00author address author phone

Stewards are trying to disperse the protest.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 09:04author address author phone

Still trying to get people to march away from the refinery, there is some unhappiness with this both from some of those who travelled and some of the locals. Plan is to go to the local community centre for some cups of tea etc.


Re pictures never lying - I'm surprised anyone actually believes this given the huge experience of edited footage demonstrating otherwise. In any case as the reports above indicate the march grew from around 300 to around 600 so RTE could have shot some honest footage at the start which would not have been an honest reflection of the numbers at the end.

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author by supporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 09:31author address author phone

appreicate the update

author by Indymedia Reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:14author address author phone

About seventy people have engaged in a breakaway and have crossed bog to enter refinery. There is no evidence of gardai present.

author by mid-west -radiopublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:15author address author phone

Anybody listening to midwest radio news, on the protest?
They arent even mentioning it!

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:28author address author phone

Hiking along route of pipe line, approaching refinery from the rear, Gardai seem unaware of their presence at the time of SMS but they estimate they are now 1km from the site.

10.26 - have now started to run towards refinery, sound of work can be heard coming from ahead. People are blockading JCB, workers look shocked, had no idea people were coming. 100 people now inside refinery blocking road, no gardai

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:32author address author phone

Lots of photos of pipeline show it to be very corroded, pipe appears very thin. Jeep approaching from behind (this is from a section at the rear of protest, that had fallen behind as they had stopped to take photos of the corrosion of the pipe)

author by Indymedia Reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:34author address author phone

" We've now come off the pipeline route and forcing JCBs back. We expect to march straight through peacefully and then out the gates."

author by Indymedia Reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:46author address author phone

Protesters have put a halt to all work inside Shell site at Bellinaboy!

They are taking photographs and lots of cheering could be heard over the phone.

author by Indymedia Reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:57author address author phone

Two Garda Vans have now pulled up inside the compound with a full complement of guards.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:59author address author phone

In middle of refinery site, 120 protesters present. Three cop cans have arrived, 10 cops are out of van 80m away, 50 to 60 workers standing around, don't seem hostile. Work on whole site has shut down following calls to health and safety authority.

More police vans arriving

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:03author address author phone

Some people are talking to the workers, its been suggested to them they go on strike for the day (to which they sniggered. A few private security guards present but not intervening. More cops arriving

author by Anonpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:03author address author phone

A bit more descretion might be advicable when live-feeding to a newswire.
Is it any wonder the cops showed up after reading what was going on, exact positions of where people were in terms of refinery and the posts above stating there were no cops!
I'm sure the majority of those involved in indymedia are aware that the site is closely monitored by the pigs so detailing 'covert' operations that S2S are engaging in might not be adviceable.

Fair play to those who got into refinery!

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:13author address author phone

Your concerns are noted however you might also note the 5 min delay in posting the account of them moving down the pipeline. This was because we waited until they had come into sight of the workers. I'd presume they have mobiles and can therefore also ring the Gardai as they probably did at the sight of 100 odd people charging up the pipeline!

author by ADMIN - S2Spublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:15author address author phone

Quick audio report

author by Indymedia Reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:21author address author phone

A bus load of gardai have arrived and now the crowd of protesters, who are surrounded by police are walking out in a peaceful manner as was intended.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:23author address author phone

Protesters were surrounded by ring of 70 guards who pushed them around but a gap opened and protesters now marching out of the refinery. Work is still halted and an additional coach load of cops has just arrived.

author by Indy reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:30author address author phone

Everyone walking out linking arms chanting 'peaceful protest'
2 buses filled with guards and 8 garda vans pulled up and surrounded the assembled crowd
One protestor injured their wrist, awaiting further fuller reports.

Thanks to participants sending on the information as its happening.

author by Indy reporterpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:44author address author phone

Everyone has left now and a carnival atmosphere has ensued with sound system and music.
About 10 people were present to greet the protestors

More recent reports indicate that guards have move people and pushed them over the sound system
But people are still maintaining the peaceful protest inspite of garda attempts to undermine it.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:53author address author phone

This is from another source.

Police surrounded them in compound, quite aggressive and pushing. They then marched through the compound chanting Shell to Sea till they reached another group of protesters who were waiting at front gate. Cops then made a great deal of aggresively clearing the roads, pushing people into the verge etc. No arrests reported. Total jubulation from Shell to Sea protesters, Gardai looking a bit dejected.

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:54author address author phone

This is a brief audio interview done as protesters left compound, its interrupted as the Gardai start to push into them at the end

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:58author address author phone

Same audio file as above but this time stored on which should make for a faster download.

audio 45 secs mp3 file 0.21 Mb

author by Joepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:25author address author phone

Can't answer your question but it appears this action took place after the march organised by the community had finished. So obviously the community as a whole is not responsible for it even though individual locals also took part. This seperation of protests is pretty standard everywhere when tactical differences exist within a struggle, accepting the reality of this is a lot more sensible then creating an atmosphere where those who favour different methods try and undermine each other in public.

That said if the aim is to halt the construction of the refinery then it appears this action achieved this, at least for a few hours. No one was arrested and there only appears to be one minor injury. So there is plenty to be cheerful about.

author by -----------publication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 14:26author address author phone Report Here:

author by IT readerpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 15:48author address author phone

Both Mary Corduff and Mark Garavan immediately distanced/disassociated themselves from the more militant action.

author by x - (none - neutral)publication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 16:05author address author phone

Its kind of obvious what happened - the bulk of the people (mostly long-term activists) who travelled down to Mayo werent interested in a 12-hour bus return journey for a simple marshalled/stewarded march around the perimeter of the site, and went off and did their own thing outside the action arranged and executed by the bulk of S2S supporters on the day, question is now what will happen with the local community's wishes for just a march and how people going off on their own will be viewed - could go either way: their wish to do their own thing with their own tactics might be respected and welcomed, or else they'll be isolated and not wanted at protests again.

author by supppublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 16:26author address author phone

The 'locals' who weren't at the march and the occupation will be annoyed (and ever ignorant) and the locals who were there and arranged it will be glad of the response to their request for support from all.

author by cheebapublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 19:24author address author phone

Just back from an inspiring and energising protest at the Shell refinery site today. Others will write up more detailed reports,just want to say that the locals were instrumental in the execution and resolution of todays action at the refinery. It also appeared to me that a majority of local activists are supportive of these tactics. They are somewhat confused at the local leadership's position. Nether Gerry Crowley nor Mark Garavan were present today at any time, either at the 'carnival'at 7am or the later occupation.
On one other note that gobshite - Egan I think - Shell's Irish spokesperson accused us of being verbally intimadating and abusive to workers on the site - I can assure all readers that this is an outright lie. The workers were very calm and were not approached in any way except by a few individuals who assured them that our problem was not with them, but with Shell and the Government.

author by Honest Billpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 19:29author address author phone

I was one of the trespassers today.
"I wonder" seems to be writing fiction based on what Shell's liar-in-chief John Egan said about "abuse and vandalism". During the occupation, protestors did not speak to or shout at the workers. The only interaction was when one protestor tried to take a photo through the door of a prefab and two Shell workers grabbed him and twisted him so that his arm caught in the doorway. His wrist was broken and he was later taken to hospital in Castlebar.
Throughout the occupation, the workers all stood around looking relaxed, slightly mysitified and also looking pleased to have an unscheduled break from work. The protestors didn't really do anything: we just stood around, some people had a picnic, many took photographs and video, and we talked about how we were going to proceed.
There wasn't really anything there to vandalise: there were sections of the Corrib gas pipeline lying around getting rusty. Other than that it was a building site in the early stages of work: no buildings there yet.

author by headmuzikpublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 23:04author address author phone

Well to be fair, some of us did approach and try to talk to the workers. Understandably though, they were reticent and did not want to speak to us at any length. One chap was asking them if they were aware of levels of lead being used in the pipe. I approached a group of workers myself and asked them about whether they supported shell to sea. They did not respond but one asked me if we were going to prevent work going on at the site. I said I hoped we would, but nothing is certain with these things and it depended on opposition to the project on the ground remaining strong. They seemed bemused, but not scared or intimidated in any way. I would say only about 3 or 4 people spoke to them in any case. I didn't hear anyone verbally abuse them - if anyone did it was a very isolated incidence and not representative. We just walked by them then out through the gates with the garda escort....

author by turk turkeltonpublication date Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:04author address author phone

Anyone able to explain there was a Corduff coach on the refinery site itself? I thought they were in support of the campaign?

author by Finpublication date Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:27author address author phone

different corduffs - have never supported us.

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