éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson has described the Garda attack on peaceful protestors at Anglo Irish Bank today [Saturday] as “vicious and unprovoked”.
There was a large and aggressive Garda presence at the Stephen’s Green headquarters of the bank from early this morning after four éirígí activists gained access to a roof and unveiled a banner proclaiming ‘People of Ireland, Rise Up’.
Later, as Gardaí moved onto the roof to assault and arrest the protestors, demonstrators on the ground were also attacked, with three more arrests taking place. A number of those arrested sustained injuries in the Garda attack and received treatment from a doctor in Pearse Street Barracks.
Despite the attempt at intimidation, today’s main protest went ahead as planned at 2pm, with around 150 people turning up to demand an end to the bank bailout, NAMA and the slashing of public services. As the scheduled speaker, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, was among those arrested, Brian Leeson gave the main oration.
During the demonstration, a large effigy of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Seán Fitzpatrick was burned.
Leeson said: “Today’s events proved the point that the institutions of this state act only in the interest of the bankers, developers and the entire business class.
“However, today also demonstrated that working class people are not powerless in the face of the economic onslaught being waged by right-wing politicians and the wealthy. The Garda’s aim – to prevent the demonstration going ahead – was not achieved.
“People should be conscious of their own ability to change the agenda in this country if they act collectively and determinedly. The action of the Garda and government cannot stop the fight-back that has now begun.”
Leeson also called for the immediate release of the only éirígí activist still in custody tonight, who is being held on the spurious grounds that Gardaí cannot ascertain his identity.
“There is absolutely no reason this man should continue to be held apart from political vindictiveness. He should be released immediately and the charges against all the activists should be dropped.”