Protesting is not a crime: #JobstownNotGuilty

The heinous targeting of Maurice McCabe and other Garda whistle blowers and the targeting of the Jobstown protestors by the state are two sides of the same coin.

On one side a sinister smear campaign waged to silence McCabe and others by the top echelons of the Garda; in collusion with state agencies, the media and the political establishment. On the other side of the coin the same might of the state attempting to publicly crush the fight back against austerity of a working class community and its left-wing pubic representatives.

Silencing protest

A “whistle blower” is someone who exposes information or activity that is deemed wrong, unethical or illicit, a person that doesn’t turn away from wrong doing and actually takes a stand in protest against injustice. Those who protested against Joan Burton in November 2014 were taking a stand against the injustice of austerity.

The stomach churning false accusations that were made to discredit and undermine McCabe are shocking and will expose for many ordinary people the perverse relationship between the most powerful institutions in this state and their ruthless determination to discredit and crush those who stand up to them and their interests.

Like the brutal intimidation of the whistle blowers the nature of the arrests following the protest in Jobstown in November 2014 were a blatant attempt to intimidate not just those arrested but the community in general. Two weeks of dawn raids with up to ten Gardaí arresting each individual protestor. This was not only upsetting for those arrested and their families but actually created fear throughout the community as the hundreds who attended wondered who would be next.

Raids & trumped-up charges

The spontaneous protest on that day was made up largely of local women many of whom had their children with them. Rose Sinclair Doyle, one those who participated in the protest, told theJournal.ie that “she was waiting for a knock on the door” and that she was “terrified” because an arrest or criminal offence could hinder her goal of becoming a teacher.

At the height of the anti water charges and austerity movement Garda launched “Operation Mizen” to gather information on protesters including Paul Murphy TD. Similarly Maurice McCabe believes he was under police surveillance and that his phone was tapped.

The political policing continued in the wake of the Jobstown protest when Garda banned Paul Murphy and the AAA from holding street and door to door fundraising in Dublin South West. This was a direct attempt to cut across the organisation of a left alternative which would be seen as a massive threat by their friends in the political establishment.

A stitch up

In August 2015, those arrested in Tallaght found out that they would be charged with the hugely serious “false imprisonment” via a Garda leak to the media. There was also a media onslaught to demonise the protest in the days after.

The countdown to the trial is on and the establishment are gearing up for a “stitch up” of the Jobstown protesters and a massive miscarriage of justice; the guilty verdict of a 17 year old is an indication of that.

The fact that people who took part in a sit down protest now face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment needs to be screamed from the rooftops and a campaign of solidarity to defend the right to protest must be waged. It is becoming increasingly clear the only way to fight back against the backward and corrupt Irish state and their counterparts internationally is the building and strengthening of socialist forces.