Gardai acting as government political force?

Protesters failed in their attempt to stage a peaceful, democratic protest during the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping because Irish police effectively abandoned their democratic obligation to allow and protect such protests.

Effectively abandoning their obligation as a civil police force for all citizens the Irish police apparently behaved as a political force acting in the interests of government.

The following is taken from RTEs This Week programme (6.30) covering an attempted protest in the Phoenix Part against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Protester: Can we have our property back please?

Guard: I cannot let you protest.

Protester: Why? What grounds are you taking this from us? Why?

Protester: He asked me, what is in your bag? I said there’s a couple of books and my Tibetan flag and I asked him, do you want to search and he said yes.I opened the bag and he saw the flag and said, what is this? I said this is a Tibetan flag and he said this is a public threat.

Woman protester: This is my own property.

Gurad: I’ll tell you what. It’s near 0945 now, right. This gentleman will be gone out of here at 1030.

Protester: We don’t care, we want our property back now.

Guard: We’ll give you your property back if you leave the Park, will you leave the park?

Protester: We will, we promise.

Guard: You follow us out the Castleknock gates and we’ll give you back your flags but you will not be allowed back into the park.

UDC lecturer and barrister specialising on the law of the European Convention of Human Rights said:

It would be dangerous to think that you could exclude demonstraters from those places just because they’re visible to foreign visitors.

A complaint has been submitted to the Garda Ombudsman on the matter but, as always in Ireland, people should not hold their breaths.