In the Republic of Ireland, an unprecedented mass movement has emerged over the last ten months opposed to the Irish Government’s plan to implement a domestic water charge. This comes in the context of an already massive assault on the living conditions of working-class people across Ireland.
For hundreds of thousands of people this measure has acted as the straw that broke the camel’s back and turned entire working-class communities into communities of sophisticatedly organized activists attending mass demonstrations, organizing rallies and meetings. The community-based protesters have also adopted a strategy of peacefully preventing the installation of water meters in their communities.
As the Right2Water campaign states “We believe that water is a human right and that your supply of water should not be dependent on your income levels.”
This resistance has been met with the full force of the state and has resulted in scores of activists being arrested and many injured as a result of aggressive policing (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvf14DgEZm4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh5ANBwi2Ms). The Irish High Court has also granted an injunction requiring protesters to remain at least 20 meters from workers installing water meters, effectively neutralizing their right to meaningfully protest. Recently, three protesters were given 28 days in prison (suspended for 6 months) for refusing to obey this injunction, and others will likely follow.
Defend the Right to Protest supports the protests and stands in solidarity with activists and organizers victimized by the Irish state. We show our solidarity in practice by supporting the London solidarity demonstration called by Irish émigré activists representing the Right2Water campaign on the 10th December, outside the Irish Embassy at 1pm.
For more details on the protests, see: