éirígí occupation of Anglo Irish Bank
Scores of people gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, in support of six éirígí activists who were staging a symbolic occupation of the building.
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír and Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan were among those who chained themselves to railings within the headquarters of the failed bank. The action, which began at 10am and ended shortly after 2pm, was taken in opposition to both NAMA and the bank bailout scheme.
April 24 was chosen as the date of the protest as it marks the 94th anniversary of the start of the Easter Rising. It was on this day in 1916 that the Proclamation of the Irish Republic laid out a vision of Irish society that guaranteed equality for all. In contrast, in the Ireland of 2010, the interests of the golden circle are cherished above all others.
As Gardaí moved to cordon off the footpath in front of the bank, passers-by and motorists were keen to show their opposition to NAMA with both words and car horn beeps of support. As news of the occupation spread across the city, dozens of people made their way to Stephens Green. By 12 noon, the advertised assembly time for the protest, upwards of 60 people were outside Anglo Irish, carrying a variety of colourful placards, flags and banners.
Speaking from outside Anglo Irish, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson called for a sustained campaign against NAMA, the bank bailout and the cuts to public services.
“The Twenty-Six counties is in crisis. Almost half a million people are unemployed while thousands more are being forced to emigrate, tens of thousands are waiting to be housed while countless properties lie idle and the health and education systems are chronically under-funded. And, in the face of all of this, the Dublin government’s sole focus is the protection of the banks and the business class.
“The time for polite debate has passed. We believe that the only way that NAMA, the bank bailout and the cutbacks can be defeated is through a campaign of mass civil disobedience. We hope that the CDPs, the sports clubs, the drug prevention schemes, the youth clubs and all the other organisations which have had their funding slashed in recent months will take it upon themselves to organise similar direct actions aimed at the disruption of the political and banking systems.
“Working people have many means at their disposal to force the Dublin government to reverse its unjust policies. Through rent and mortgage strikes, through mass public protest, through civil disobedience, through the withdrawal of labour we can collectively bring the NAMA Republic to its knees. And, in its place, we can build a country that will truly reflect the vision of the 1916 Proclamation.”
For more photos from the day, click here.