The asylum standoff at East Wall shows no sign subsiding with coordinated shutdowns by residents yesterday evening at Busáras bus terminal and the Samuel Beckett Bridge simultaneously.
Beginning after 5pm, protestors successfully stalled traffic at key transport arteries in the third week of the ongoing dispute. Numbering just over a hundred and carrying placards decrying the imposition of the centre on the community, the area around Amiens Street was soon cordoned off by Gardaí resulting in the redirecting of commuter traffic.
Fulfilling a promise to continue and escalate efforts to force the government’s hands on the ESB centre, events were coordinated by republican activist and lawyer Malachy Steenson.The blockade came in the wake of reports of further arrivals to the old ESB site this week by stealth.
Lasting the best part of 2 hours, residents then marched down Amiens Street before dispersing for the night. Raising issues around the provision of housing and services as well as the safety of locals, bar some aggrieved motorists protestors did not arouse the anger of passersby.
In tandem with the grassroots effort of East Wall citizens, a rather subdued gathering of anti-racists under the banner of the PBP front, United Against Racism mustered approximately 100 protestors outside of the GPO in defence of the government’s free-handed asylum policy – though they’d phrase it differently.
Denouncing any and all attempts to rein in the state’s floundering asylum buffet and provide preference to Irish citizens, attendees were serenaded by various trotskyite aligned speakers in what was a routine performance of anti-Irish activism.
Increasingly yesterday’s news when it comes to street level politics, the chasm opened up between the Irish working class in particular and Irish trotskyists stands to potentially jeopardise electoral gains made the past decade on the back of post-Crash initiatives. At least the Shinners benefit from having enough tact to keep mum on the asylum issue at times unlike their Marxist brethren.
Set only to roll on and keep the state’s feet to the fire, East Wall marks a landmark in citizen driven campaigns to puncture the asylum regime and its political masters. One may only hope the lessons and roadmap of the community standing up for itself is replicated nationwide in order to break the Dublin government’s back on the matter.