Many of these protests originated in protests that had been called in solidarity with the protests against the World Bank that we're to take place in Washington DC this weekend. After the S11 terror attacks on American the World Bank called off its Washington conference. Two major coalitions had been organising to protest in Washington at this conference. The reformist coalition rapidly called off its protests. However the Anti-Capitalist Convergence which had been initiated by an anarchists decided to transform their demonstration into an anti-war demonstration.
The Dublin demonstration was called in solidarity with the Washington demonstration. The Anti-Capitalist Convergance's call against the war demonstration was also distributed on the demonstration in Dublin.
The Dublin demonstration started with a rally outside the Central bank in Dame Street. The attendance at this of around 400 was disappointing, as the anti-war meeting on Tuesday night had attracted 450 people. Part of the reason may be the perception that an immediate bombing of Afghanistan has become less likely. But it's also true that in comparison with Tuesday nights meeting Saturdays rally was very badly publicised. Several people commented because they only knew about it because of emails on the Ainriail list that had also been forwarded elsewhere.
The Workers Solidarity Movement distributed 1,000 copies of our anti-war statement, mostly to those on the demonstration. At the rally there were also a visible presence from the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party as well as a stall set up by a member of the Anarchist Federation. Quite a number of other anarchists also turned up, some of them helping to distribute out material. One arrived with a large 'No war but the Class War' placard.
There were several speakers before the start of the march with Alan MacSimoin speaking for the WSM. He identified two practical things we can do in Ireland, first to demand no refuelling of (USA) war planes at Shannon and secondly to demand the automatic acceptance of any Afghan refugees that make it to Ireland.
One positive sign was that people passing by were continually drawing the demonstration so that by the time it marched off there were around 600 people. A banner that read 'No more hate' headed the march.
When we got to O'Connell street bridge (one of the main cross city routes) there was a token sit down protest for a few minutes and then a minutes silence for the victims of the attack on the USA. Unusually for an Irish anti-war march there were even a couple of USA flags on the march as people were keen to show that in opposing the USA war drive we were not supporting the attack's.
In general most people watching the march understood this and indeed many more joined in so that by the time it had completed a circle of O'Connell Street numbers had grown to between 800 and 1,000. This suggests that a better-publicised march would have gained a far higher attendance.
I spent a good part of the march handing out our statement and copies of Workers Solidarity to people watching from the pavement. This is also quite a useful way to see how people react to demonstrations. In fact most people seemed supportive or curious. The only hostility I got was from a couple of young men who "wanted a war' and some USA tourists. But even they were an exception, most USA tourists took material and there were some USA citizens on the demonstration.
The march returned to its starting point, the Plaza outside the Central Bank. There were some more speeches there which I couldn't here as I was on the edge of the crowd distributing leaflets.
On Saturday 13th the WSM is holding a gathering for anarchists to the anarchist approach to this war, the issues around it and building an anti-war movement. Although we will work with and take part in the demonstrations called by the various emerging campaigns its clear that there is a need for a distinct anarchist presence within the anti-war movement. If you're an anarchist make sure you get to this gathering.
For more on the war see struggle.ws/stopthewar.html
[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement members of an event they took part in or attended, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written] Note: Pictures are ultra compressed a week or so after they are uploaded to this site to save space on the server.
First major anti - war meeting
An anti war rally in Dublin last night confirmed that opposition to Bush's war is growing as fast in Ireland as it is internationally.
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