Video: Occupy Dame Street camp is cleared in early hours
Published 08/03/2012 | 07:05
A MAJOR Garda operation moved in on the Occupy Dame Street camp outside the Central Bank in Dublin at 3.30am today.
Fifteen protestors who were spending the night at the camp we kept away while over 100 gardai, assisted by officials from Dublin Corporation, began dismantling the makeshift camp.
One person was arrested for public disorder outside the cordon, gardai said.
Protestors had been camping at the site since last October to object to corporate greed and in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protest and other similar movements around the world.
The Occupy Wall Street camp was dismantled by police in New York last November.
The protestors have vowed to hold a demonstration in front of the Central bank later today and said that their protest is not over.
They said that they were hoping that the removal of the camp would result in more support as it did in other cities.
Gardai said they had communicated by letter and in person with the organisers of the Dame Street protest in recent weeks outlining the significant health and safety concerns at the site over the St Patrick's Day parade.
"We sought their assistance and co-operation, however this was not forthcoming," a spokesman said.
"This morning's operation continued for a number of hours as the site was cleared.
"An Garda Siochana's priority is to ensure that all of St Patrick's Day events and celebrations pass off smoothly and that all participants and the large crowds of spectators at the parade can access and egress the parade route without a risk or threat to their health and safety."
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said yesterday that it was regrettable that those involved in the protest would not consider relocating for a few days during the St Patrick's Day festival celebrations.
The wooden pallets and main structures were put up by the protest group, instead of tents, in December and January as a result of bad weather.
The camp, which has been expanded in recent times was taking up most of the Central Bank plaza in Dublin's main tourist area.
Owners of businesses surrounding the Occupy Dame Street protest camp were furious at their presence and had accused the bank of 'side-stepping' the damage being done to local traders.
Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said last month that while he didn't "welcome" the occupation of the Dame Street concourse, he has no plans to take action against the protesters.
"A new development on Dame Street has been the arrival of the Occupy Movement," he said. "While not everyone is happy with their being there, several people have said to me that their presence symbolises, albeit in a rather ambiguous and even incoherent way, the feelings of a large part of society in regard to what has gone wrong in the financial sector and with the banks.
"We don't welcome their presence, but -- as long as no one is harmed or put in danger by them -- we are not at present inclined to take action to have them moved away."