The Tamil Solidarity campaign gives full support to the Jobstown protesters in Ireland. We defend the right to protest.
In April 2017, a court case will begin where protesters are charged with the crime of false imprisonment after they took part in a peaceful protest which included the blocking of a politician’s car with a sit-down protest.
Tamil Solidarity demands that the Irish government:
- Drop all charges against the protesters
- Revoke the conviction made to the 17 year old protester
- Allow the right to protest
We welcome everyone to take part in the protest taking place outside Irish embassy
Details: 2-3pm Thursday 23 March, Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 7HR
Please add your name to the protest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, postal address and any office you hold in Tamil organisations, trade unions or community campaigns. Request a campaign pack to help build the campaign.
The Jobstown protest was against water charges. As part of the privatisation of water, the Irish government attempted to introduce water charges in 2014. This amounted to a double taxation, which came on top of the rates everyone was already paying. In fact it was another austerity measure to make workers and young people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers in 2007-8.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back after all the other attacks, that had been made. Huge opposition and a strong movement of non-payment of these charges developed and has defeated the charges and the government.
At the protest in Jobstown in Dublin, the car of the then Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton was delayed by protesters who demanded the abolition of the water charges. They reflected the massive discontent that exists in Ireland against all the politicians who collaborate with big business and punish the working class and poor. In fact the Irish government appealed against the ruling of the European Commission that Apple should pay €13 billion in unpaid taxes!
Local activists and young people took part in the Jobstown protest, like millions of others sick of the government punishing the poor and rewarding the rich. A well-known MP (TD in Ireland) and a key proponent of the successful non-payment of water charges tactic, Paul Murphy TD, took part in that peaceful protest. Outrageously he and others have since been charged with the “false imprisonment” of Joan Burton. She and her party, the Labour Party, were so unpopular that they suffered a historic defeat in the general election that followed.
Non-payment and the mass protest movement have now forced back the government on water charges. This is an enormous victory to the movement. However the state doesn’t want to let this victory go without punishing the protesters. In October 2016 a young protester, who was 15 years old at the time of the protest, was found guilty of false imprisonment. There was no allegation or charge against him of violence. The evidence shows he was protesting not kidnapping. This outrageous attempt by the Irish government to victimise the protesters continues.
Tamil Solidarity condemns this attempt to vilify protesters in the strongest possible terms. Tamil-speaking campaigners are all too familiar with the state attempting to victimise protesters. We are familiar with dictatorial governments trying to somehow outlaw protest. We were appalled to learn that the current Irish government is also allowing such attempt to take place in Ireland. We will do all we can to support the Jobstown campaign to defend the right to protest against governments and political leaders who do not stand with working people.
Paul Murphy TD is well-known among Tamil Solidarity activists and in the community due to his continuous support for democratic and human rights. He was instrumental in organising a hearing at the European Parliament during the debate on withdrawing GSP+ sanction to Sri Lanka. He has been outspoken in opposition to the attacks on the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka, including attempting to make a fact-finding visit to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of 2009 to bring attention to the plight of Tamils.
He is also well-known for his support for the struggling Palestinians. His clear stand on international issues, all the time taking the side of the struggling masses, has earned him enormous respect. It is very rare that elected politicians stand so firmly along with those demanding their rights and defending our services.