Members of Anti Imperialist Action Ireland were proud to stand alongside the community protesting outside the Garda Station in Blanchardstown this morning, where up to 70 people gathered to protest the unjust killing of George Nkencho on the 30th of December by armed Free State police. Social distancing and hygiene was observed.
A number of speakers including a family member spoke of their desire for justice for George, highlighting the inconsistencies and the brutality of the Gardaí response. It was pointed out that the entire Gardaí response only took 20 minutes in total from arriving at the scene, and that not nearly enough effort was made to resolve the issue peacefully as has been done in many other cases. The fact that George was undergoing a mental health crisis, and had been known to be suffering in the past by Gardaí was emphasised, as well as the need for better mental health services.
The widespread propagation of far right lies and racist propaganda directed against the black community was addressed by many speakers, who urged that attempts to divide the community in Blanchardstown should be resisted, and urged all of Ireland to stand in solidarity with the Nkencho family and against police violence.
Our own members were well received and thanked by organisers for attending.
While racism was highlighted, most speakers stated that they saw this struggle not primarily as a racial issue but as an issue of injustice and police brutality.
One speaker in particular made it clear that he saw the long history of Irish resistance to oppression and colonialism as a major inspiration for him and others in the Black community in Ireland. He said that Irish people have always stood with the oppressed around the world despite Irish elites, and defied British rule for centuries, taking on an Empire in the 1916 Rising. It is that same spirit of resistance, as well as his love of Ireland, that inspires him to stand against this injustice, and for migrants in this country to have the same rights as any other part of the community. He was not the only speaker to emphasise that despite media and fascist propaganda, they are proud to live in Ireland and are not in any way “anti Irish”.
Others at the protest who spoke with our members were quick to point out that there is shared history between Africa and Ireland in our common heritage of being colonised by the British Empire, and the ways in which imperialism used and continues to “divide and rule” tactics to undermine colonised peoples, such as in Nigeria with the continuing subjugation of the Biafran nation.
All speakers emphasised that they and the community were determined to take a stand, and would not stop until justice was achieved.
The protests outside the Station will continue daily at 10am until the 13th of January, when there will be a candlelit vigil and a march to Leinster House.
In concluding the event the organisers made it clear that the fight will extend beyond that, and that all should be fighting to ensure that there are no more killings by police in Ireland.
The Free State police has been at war with working class and minority communities in the 26 county state since its inception. As Socialist Republicans we believe that the best way to combat the brutality and excesses of this police force is for the working class of Blanchardstown and the entire country to stand united against state repression in all of its forms.
The justified anger in the community in Blanchardstown needs to be directed against the police and far right, and not turned inwards. Any attempts to further divide the community by the media, political organisations and the Far Right should be resisted.
Similarly racist sentiments being expressed by a vocal minority of the Irish people should be challenged whenever they arise, as these sentiments are an obstacle to uniting our people against our common enemies.
The working class of Ireland as a whole should understand that the police North and South are the enemies of the people, who exist to terrorise the people and ensure our continuing exploitation by the garrison class, capitalists and financiers. The system that the Free State police are sworn to uphold should be rejected in its entirety.
Ultimately only the fight to reestablish our Socialist Republic can bring an end to police brutality, exploitation, an the artifical divisions promoted by the ruling class among workers in Ireland.