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anarkismo.net: Mass trespass halts work on Shell refinery in Ireland

Rossport/Nigeria protest against Shell

(The barn of a Rossport resident with the names of those murdered in Nigeria)

By Joe Friday, Feb 16 2007, 12:15pm
Work brought to a standstill as 100 protesters enter site

The Shell to Sea Campaign organised a day of support on the 16th February at Bellanaboy to give people from around the country the opportunity to show their support and solidarity with the community of Erris in their struggle against Shell. After the official protest had ended around 100 people crossed the bog to gain access to the refinery and suceeded in halting work there.
 
Every morning, the residents of a small North Mayo community stand in protest at the attempts of Shell to force a high-powered gas pipeline through their area. they do this in the face of ongoing state harassment and violence.

This day of solidarity on February 16th allowed supporters and Shell to Sea campaigners from around the country to travel to Mayo to show solidarity with local campaigners.

WSM members were involved in this breakaway mass trespass at the Shell refinery that halted work. We had arranged for members to SMS reports to our internet group which were posted on to indymedia.ie. The reports below are from WSM member Joe and also an unknown indymedia reporter

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News from Day of Solidarity against Shell in Bellinaboy
Friday February 16, 2007 07:55 by Joe – WSM
The march in Bellinaboy is now taking place. Its reported by SMS that 300 are taking part and that the march is being tightly stewarded

Update
by Indy reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:05
600 people have gathered and the march has taken off.
The march is very heavily stewarded by local people.
Initial reports indicate a small Garda prescence but that the protest is 2kms from the Shell site at Bellinaboy.

7.50 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:06
Good Mayo turnout plus 90 from Dublin, and 50 from Cork, Seceral cars came from Dublin as well as the two buses. Not much sleep overnight

Currently marching towards the terminal, no Gardai as yet but lots of media. Expect to be stopped before they get to the terminal

8.10 by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:10
More people are joining the march, there are now around 400

Arrived by Indy reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:23
The much larger crowd has arrived at the refinery

8.20 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:26
Arriving at refinery, demonstration has grown to 500 plus. At least some workers were snuck onto the site very early this morning, presumably to avoid any attempt to blockade. Gardai at the moment not blocking off entrance to refinery but a line of local stewards are in front of the refinery. Spriits are high and there are some drummers.

From another source at same time
Numbers are 500 to 600, rallying outside refinery, police standing off

8.39 by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:39
Speeches in progress, all is otherwise quiet. Work is continuing on the site itself

8.52 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:53
600 people present, short rally at the gates is concluding, proposed to march away from the site.

8.55 update by Indy reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 09:00
Stewards are trying to disperse the protest.

9.00 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 09:04
Still trying to get people to march away from the refinery, there is some unhappiness with this both from some of those who travelled and some of the locals. Plan is to go to the local community centre for some cups of tea etc.

Latest news by Indymedia Reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:14
About seventy people have engaged in a breakaway and have crossed bog to enter refinery. There is no evidence of gardai present.

10.15 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:17
Breakaway section of 100 have invaded site, this includes some locals. No Gardai at present. They are moving along route of pipeline and attempting to dismantle sections of it that are in place. More updates to follow

10.21 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:28
Hiking along route of pipe line, approaching refinery from the rear, Gardai seem unaware of their presence at the time of SMS but they estimate they are now 1km from the site.

10.26 – have now started to run towards refinery, sound of work can be heard coming from ahead. People are blockading JCB, workers look shocked, had no idea people were coming. 100 people now inside refinery blocking road, no gardai

10.32 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:32
Lots of photos of pipeline show it to be very corroded, pipe appears very thin. Jeep approaching from behind (this is from a section at the rear of protest, that had fallen behind as they had stopped to take photos of the corrosion of the pipe)

The word from inside Shell by Indymedia Reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:34
” We’ve now come off the pipeline route and forcing JCBs back. We expect to march straight through peacefully and then out the gates.”

Indy exclusive! Work has stopped inside Shell site at Bellinaboy! by Indymedia Reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:46
Protesters have put a halt to all work inside Shell site at Bellinaboy!

They are taking photographs and lots of cheering could be heard over the phone.

Work is still at a halt by Indymedia Reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:57
Two Garda Vans have now pulled up inside the compound with a full complement of guards.

update 10.57 by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:59
In middle of refinery site, 120 protesters present. Three cop cans have arrived, 10 cops are out of van 80m away, 50 to 60 workers standing around, don’t seem hostile. Work on whole site has shut down following calls to health and safety authority.

More police vans arriving

Update 11.02 by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:03
Some people are talking to the workers, its been suggested to them they go on strike for the day (to which they sniggered). A few private security guards present but not intervening. More cops arriving

Audio comments
by ADMIN – S2S Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:15
Quick audio report at http://www.corribsos.com/uploads/160207.wav

Reports incoming by Indymedia Reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:21
A bus load of gardai have arrived and now the crowd of protesters, who are surrounded by police are walking out in a peaceful manner as was intended.

11.20 update by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:23
Protesters were surrounded by ring of 70 guards who pushed them around but a gap opened and protesters now marching out of the refinery. Work is still halted and an additional coach load of cops has just arrived.

Peaceful Protest by Indy reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:30
Everyone walking out linking arms chanting ‘peaceful protest’
2 buses filled with guards and 8 garda vans pulled up and surrounded the assembled crowd
One protestor injured their wrist, awaiting further fuller reports.

Thanks to participants sending on the information as its happening.

Carnival by Indy reporter Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:44
Everyone has left now and a carnival atmosphere has ensued with sound system and music.
About 10 people were present to greet the protestors

More recent reports indicate that guards have move people and pushed them over the sound system. But people are still maintaining the peaceful protest inspite of garda attempts to undermine it.

Update 11.49 by Joe Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:53
This is from another source.

Police surrounded them in compound, quite aggressive and pushing. They then marched through the compound chanting Shell to Sea till they reached another group of protesters who were waiting at front gate. Cops then made a great deal of aggresively clearing the roads, pushing people into the verge etc. No arrests reported. Total jubulation from Shell to Sea protesters, Gardai looking a bit dejected.

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