On the ODS Eviction from Dame Street

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There’s a good report from Andrew Flood on WSM.ie about the eviction yesterday of the occupiers of the Central Bank plaza, known as Occupy Dame Street as well as an initial assessment of ODS and its part in Ireland’s nascent protest movement.

“Media coverage of the eviction suggests that it was a fairly low key affair with an overwhelming number of Garda (around 100) compared to campers (about 15) but commentary from the campers and a video interview published by the Irish Times suggests that a significant level of physical intimidation & force was used by Garda. Campers talked of pick axes being used to break into structures while they were still inside and of the seizure of mobile phones, lap tops, clothes, minutes & contact books and even bicycles that were chained on the square. This happened without warning, while people were sleeping. One of the campers said of the police that “they came like volatile bullies & terrorists .. they behaved like animals.”

Updated 14.30: In a second video interview from this morning two women from ODS talked about how the Garda had arrived wearing balaclava’s, didn’t poduce the court order until they had dragged everyone off the site and had twisted their arms and stamped on their hands when they attempted to sit on the street. Just before lunch a small group were forcibly prevented from putting up tents. A number of witnesses have said that last night some of the Garda appeared to be carrying guns.”

As a response to the arrests and confiscation of the occupiers possessions, including laptops and details of those who supported the protest a group gathered outside Pearse Street Garda station last night to demand the return of the items, which once again invoked a considerable strong arm of the law response from the Gardai.

However, Andrew concludes with an initial assessement of the Occupy Dame Street camp, what it has achieved and what were its limitations as direct action.

“The camp at Occupy Dame Street last from October 2011 to March 2012, making it one of the longest running such camps in the world. Many, particularly in the US, were violently evicted, sometimes multiple times, before the end of 2011. But leaving aside longevity after the initial buzz Occupy Dame Street did not succeed, and was even counter productive on several levels. The best things to come from it were the projects set up by people initially involved when they departed. It’s worth taking some time to consider what caused this failure and what the lessons are for the future. We intend to produce a detailed article next week where the WSM members who were involved in Occupy Dame Street will attempt to do just this.”

Looking forward to that.

Photo copyright: Irish Times

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com