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Ten years since Garda baton charge on peaceful protestors

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The 10th of November 2006 was chosen by the Shell to Sea campaign as a suitable day of action as it marked the anniversary of the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists who opposed Shell in Nigeria.

In 2007, following the baton charge and other incidents in which people were injured, GSOC sought to do a “policies and practices” investigation into the policing of Shell/Corrib protests. However, the then Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan denied GSOC permission to carry out this investigation. As the 2010 Frontline report stated this created “the impression that the State does not want the Garda Síochána held properly to account over the policing of the Corrib dispute”. [2]

Four days before the baton charge, President Michael D. Higgins addressed the protestors outside Bellanaboy refinery stating “The issue is the right of the people of Erris to have security and safety… They want to be able to live their lives in peace. They deserve protection from any company that seeks to trample over their rights. What is important are issues of justice and no company should be outside the law”. [3]

Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated In the case of Shell not only were they above the law but the Gardaí encouraged and assisted Shell in breaking the law.  At the time of the baton charge the Gardaí had a stated ‘no arrest’ policy and the companion of that ‘no arrest’ policy was an assault policy in which Gardaí just beat up peaceful protestors”.

Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “The policing of the Shell/Corrib protest in Erris set the template for state policing of any people protest as has been clearly seen in the Right2Water campaign; in this state, accountability ‘comes dropping slow’ – but come it will …
Links[1] Garda Violence for Shell in Mayo, Ireland – YouTube – Baton Charge at 3:30
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ4_TZQTj3Y[2] Frontline Report: “Breakdown in Trust: A Report on the Corrib Gas Dispute”
http://www.shelltosea.com/content/frontline-report-breakdown-trust-report-corrib-gas-dispute

[3] Michael D Higgins speaking outside Shell refinery gates – YouTube – at 3:34
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgpfy_PB6yU

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