Friday 20 April 2018

Protesters march to Mountjoy Prison

Alan O'Keeffe and Geraldine Gittens

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has called tonight's protest against the jailing of five water charge protesters as "counterproductive".

Protesters blocked traffic for a short time before 5pm on O’Connell Bridge, and later completely blocked northbound traffic on O’Connell Street outside the GPO.

Water protesters Richie Larkin and Mark Egan pictured outside Mountjoy Prison. Photo: Collins Courts
Water protesters Richie Larkin and Mark Egan pictured outside Mountjoy Prison. Photo: Collins Courts
Water protesters block the traffic on O'Connell Street. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 19/2/2015
Water protesters block the traffic on O'Connell Street. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Water protesters block the traffic on O'Connell Street. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Gardai stop traffic entering O'Connell Street, the road was closed last month due to water protesters blocking the traffic. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Tonight, Mr Adams said: "Anti-water protesters should be released but keeping other citizens in traffic gridlock is counterproductive."

He added "[this] plays into the hands of the Establishment".

Earlier today, three people were jailed for 28 days and two others were jailed for 56 days for contempt of  court.

Tonight's demonstration was organised by protesters in solidarity with the prisoners.

Gardai look on as water protesters block the traffic on O'Connell Street in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Gardai look on as water protesters block the traffic on O'Connell Street in Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Water protesters, clockwise from left, Olivia Hanrahan, Pearl Lumsden, Emma Radford and Kim Walley, from Donaghmeade, block the traffic on O'Connell Street. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Anti water charge protesters march to Dublin city's GPO building on O'Connell Street (Photo: Jason Kennedy)
Water protestors block the traffic on O'Connell Street in Dublin. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Protestors outside the GPO this evening. Photo: Jason Kennedy
A protestor outside the GPO. Photo: Jason Kennedy

Many protesters had moved from the Criminal Courts of Justice to the city centre to stage the protest against the jailings and they also demonstrated against the imposition of water charges.

Protester Quintin Radford (43), a father-of-four from Coolock, said he was taking part in a sit down protest on O’Connell Street in solidarity with the five people who were jailed for contempt.

“As far as I’m concerned,  I believe the court ruling goes against the public’s right to protest peacefully,” he said.

“Some people would try and make the people who protest against water charges into some kind of villains. But we are not villains. I’m an engineer working to support by four children,” he said.

The protesters said they decided to move from O’Connell Bridge to the GPO after around 20 minutes. 

They said they were waiting for more supporters to arrive before beginning a slow march to Mountjoy Prison where they planned to hold a peaceful protest outside the jail in support of the five imprisoned supporters.

Marcher John Preston (49) from Coolock said: “It’s terrible they are sending people to prison. I feel they are trying to frighten us from protesting but we intend to keep the pressure up.”

Sitdown protestor Peter Jones (31) of Coolock said he was very disappointed with Tanaiste Joan Burton. “She was good in opposition but now she is like Margaret Thatcher The Second!  We will keep protesting until they abolish the water charges,” he said.

At rush hour, Dublin Bus advised customers heading Northbound to proceed to Parnell Square to catch their buses.

It said all routes operating on the southside of the city were operating as normal but delays should be expected.

Read more: Five water charge protesters jailed amid chaotic scenes in court

RTE's Six One News attempted to broadcast live in the midst of protests but failed when protesters interrupted the live report.

Read more: Clare Daly: Jailing water protesters will only 'inflame' people

At around 3pm today, protest group Dublin Says No alerted its followers to the protest.

"Meet [at] 5pm GPO to march to Mountjoy," the group announced on its Facebook page.

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