IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM)
PRESS STATEMENT – 15 MAY 2011
IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM)
PRESS STATEMENT – 15 MAY 2011
On the occasion of the Queen’s visit to Ireland the Irish Anti-war Movement says:
· BLACK BALOON PROTEST AGAINST WAR NEXT TUESDAY, 6.30PM AT THE GPO, O’ CONNELL STREET.
· REMEMBER THE MULTITUDE OF DEAD VICTIMS AT THE HANDS OF THE QUEEN’S FORCES IN THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
· SPEAKERS INCLUDE A BRITISH GRANDMOTHER OF A SOLDIER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN, AN ex-SAS SOLDIER AND IRAQ WAR VETERAN, RICHARD BOYD BARRETT TD (CHAIR IAWM), ROGER COLE (PANA) AND OTHERS.
The Irish Anti-war Movement in a statement released today noted that to coincide with the Queen’s visit to Ireland, it will be holding a black balloon protest at the GPO next Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, as a reminder of the thousands killed in Afghanistan and Iraq at the hands of western troops. This includes the deaths of young British troops, many of who joined the army purely to improve their economic circumstances – only to be killed or maimed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The statement noted that her Majesty’s Armed Forces, as one of the major contingents of foreign troops, has been directly responsible for appalling human suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Afghan occupation is now entering its tenth year, and in recent weeks has seen a further escalation of violence. Many officials in Britain and America, such as former Democratic leader Howard Dean for example, have openly admitted that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and that Karsai’s government is corrupt. Various polls in Britain have shown an overwhelming desire among the British people for the troops to come home. Yet the Queen’s forces still occupy that country and continue to play a significant role in the subjugation, harassment and murder of its people.
Joan Humphreys, a British woman who lost her soldier grandson in Afghanistan and who will speak at the protest said:
“The Black Balloon protest on the 17th May organised by the Irish Anti-war Movement is a unique way of showing the British Government and the Queen the strength of opposition to the unacceptable wars in which the UK are involved. The Queen has equal responsibility, along with the British Government, for the thousands of deaths, for the killing and maiming of tens of thousands of civilians and also for the deaths of British service personnel. Her own grandson was removed from active service in Afghanistan as soon as there was any chance of him being maimed or killed. This is not an option for the other British soldiers who are serving there or for the Afghan combatants and civilians who are suffering in their own country. All foreign troops should be removed from Afghanistan and Iraq now to allow the people of these countries to decide their own destiny.”
Ben Griffin, an ex SAS soldier and Iraq war veteran, who will also speak at the protest, said:
“I will be in Dublin during the visit of Elizabeth Windsor to stand in solidarity with people who actively believe in Peace and Independence, as opposed to the Wars and Empire represented by Her.”
The statement continued:
“Although the impression is given that the Queen is just a representative figure she is actually the official head of the British armed forces and meets regularly with the Prime Minister and certainly influences some of Britain’s political strategies and interests. These interests include the purchase of cheap oil and the selling of armaments by major British Corporations, interests that are behind the war-mongering policies of the British Government, which over the last decade has been embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and now in Libya. The UK has been selling weaponry to dictatorial regimes without any regard for their end uses, a policy that has caused untold human suffering.”
The statement also condemned the restrictions on postering during the Queen’s visit, the sinister and systematic removal of posters and the harassment of anti war activists by members of the Garda.
The statement noted that: “Despite having obtained permission from Dublin City Council to erect posters and to leave them in place until this evening (15 May) many of the posters advertizing the protest have been systematically removed this week. On contacting Dublin City Council an IAWM spokesperson was assured that the permission was still valid and Dublin City Council had not authorised the removal of the posters.”
“Anti war activists have also had their names taken by members of An Garda Síochána while erecting posters. A more sinister development occurred on the morning of Saturday 14th May 2011 when eight posters were confiscated from Kieran O’Sullivan, a long-term member a member of the Steering Committee of the IAWM, while erecting them on Lower Abby Street."
He reported that: “while erecting posters on Lower Abby Street an unmarked Garda car pulled up beside him and plainclothes Garda confiscated the posters. He was informed that he would have to produce a permit to get the posters back. However on producing the e-mail sent by Dublin City Council granting permission at Store Street Garda Station, the posters were not returned.”
He condemned this sinister activity noting that: “the Irish Anti-War Movement has put up posters in Dublin City for many years without any difficulty.”
Jim Roche, PRO of the Steering Committee, concluded the statement by noting:
“It is unbelievable that the Irish people have been burdened with the massive cost of this extravagant visit – now estimated at €30 million – and that ordinary people have been restricted from protesting peacefully, organisations have had posters removed and anti war activists have been harassed by the Garda. The Queen, as the head of the British armed forces, must be held to account for the wanton waste of human life and resources in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is why the Irish Anti-war Movement is holding this black balloon protest during her visit to Ireland – to remember the dead victims of her futile wars.”
For further info contact:
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 087 6472737
Marnie Holborrow, Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 087 988 9244
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Chair Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 086 781 4520