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IPSC extends solidarity to Derry women facing court after Raytheon protest
anti-war / imperialism |
Thursday April 15, 2010 23:31 by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officer 087 1258325
Speaking at a public meeting held this evening in the Central Hotel in Dublin, a spokesperson for the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) commended the nine women - Roisin Barton, Roisin Bryce, Betty Doherty, Goretti Horgan, Diana King, Jackie McKenna, Sharon Meenan, Helen Reynolds and Julia Torrojo - who are currently facing charges in Belfast as a result of their anti-war action on 12 January 2009 at arms manufacturer Raytheon Systems in Derry.
Julia Torrojo (left), Sharon Meenan (centre) and Jackie McKenna (right)
Tonight's meeting, which saw a lively and interesting discussion, was organised and hosted by the Feminist Open Forum. The speakers included Julia Torrojo, Jackie McKenna and Sharon Meenan, who explained the rationale behind the action they carried out at Raytheon, gave details on what occured on the day and explained the subsequent legal proceedings against them.
The women acted in response to the Israeli assault on Gaza, which had begun on 27 December 2008 and lasted into January 2009. In a matter of weeks, more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli armed forces, including over 300 children. Raytheon has a longstanding relationship with the Israeli state and many of the bombs dropped during the massacre in Gaza were made and supplied by Raytheon.
The women were not able to gain direct access to Raytheon’s section of the building in Derry, but they rightly refused to leave the premises until assured by the PSNI that they would investigate Raytheon's complicity in war crimes. As a result of their action, they are facing trial on 4 May at Belfast High Court, charged with burglary with intent to commit unlawful damage, two with unlawfully damaging a security keypad, two with assaulting a security guard and one with kicking a steel door. All have pleaded not guilty.
Also speaking at the meeting was Freda Hughes of the IPSC, who extended solidarity to the women activists: "This anti-war action was entirely appropriate in the context of Raytheon's very close relationship with the Israeli state. We commend the women and believe that all people of conscience in this country should support them as they are dragged through the courts. It is quite clear that Raytheon is deeply involved in supplying the Israeli war machine and must be deemed complicit in the dreadful murders of more than 1,400 men, women and children in Gaza last year."
She continued: "The killing of so many civilians could never be justified, but the murder of more than 300 children highlights how savage and indiscriminate the Israeli assault on Gaza was. It is no wonder that these Derry women felt the urge to act against the suppliers of the Israeli killing machine. They did the right thing and deserve the full support of all who care about basic human rights."
Also facing the courts are an additional five male activists for an action carried out at Raytheon in Derry. The charging of these 14 activists - women and men - is in line with PSNI policy, which seems to be to bring to court anybody who, to protect human lives, takes direct action against Raytheon.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign stands fully behind these anti-war activists and will work to build support for them as they face trial in Belfast's High Court.
Women anti-war activists outside Raytheon in Derry