Progressives in Ireland unite to demand justice for George Floyd

Marches in solidarity with the anti-racist protests in the US were held, defying police restrictions, in Dublin in the Irish Republic and Belfast in Northern Ireland. Protesters, however, adhered to the COVID-19 safety protocol

June 08, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Ireland protests George Floyd
Protesters in front of the US Embassy in Dublin on June 6, Saturday.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the US embassy in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday June 6 to demand justice for George Floyd who was murdered by the police in the US. The call for the mobilization was given by the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), Migrants and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ) and Black Pride Ireland. Protesters also demanded an end to Direct Provision – a system for providing housing asylum in Ireland, which has been condemned by a majority of the asylum seekers in the country

Marches in solidarity with the ongoing anti-racist protests in the US were also organized in Belfast and Derry in Northern Ireland. Protesters took precautions and adhered to the COVID-19 safety protocols. The Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) and the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) expressed solidarity with the protesters and participated in the demonstrations in Dublin.

Lucky Kambule of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) alleged that while returning from the demonstration on Saturday, he was harassed by individuals who hurled racist slurs at him. Responding to the incident, he said, “Well, I have a message for those who called me on my way back home from the Black Lives Matter; calling me all sorts of names wishing I could rot in hell. I will always be proud of being born Black and will keep fighting for the liberation of the people. I know I will annoy a few but I know most of you who will always be by my side. That is all that matters. They have kept knees on our necks much too long, enough is enough now, remove that knee.”

“George Floyd did not choose to die during this time, we have to honor his life now, not any time later. Direct Provision must end now, asylum seekers feel the pain of the knee on their necks, they can’t breathe sir, remove that knee and set the captives free,” he added.

The demand to end Direct Provisions is gaining strength across the Republic of Ireland. A petition named Abolish Direct Provisions Ireland has collected 39,364 signatures as of June 7. The petition states that Direct Provision started in 1999 as a temporary (six months) provision for housing asylum seekers. It holds families in isolated areas with little or no access to basic services for years. Asylum seekers have reported spending a minimum of three years in deplorable conditions, with whole families cramped into single rooms and sleeping on single mattresses.

According to reports, Northern Ireland authorities have threatened the organizers of the protests with prosecution for defying restrictions by the police and other authorities. The Dublin Mayor also tried to discourage the mobilization by suggesting that organizers show their solidarity by signing an online book of condolence for George Floyd instead of staging a protest demonstration.

Protests have erupted across the US demanding justice for 46-year-old African American citizen George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25. Progressive sections across the world are also organizing marches in solidarity with the anti-racist protests in the US and demanding justice for Floyd.