Campaign support is building for ‘Protest Is Not A Crime’ rally

By Mary Dennehy

A DOCUMENTARY is being made by the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign to “counter the negative media and political commentary” around the protest in 2014 – and also as a means to “mobilise” people across the country to defend the right to protest.

Ahead of the Jobstown ‘false imprisonment’ trials starting on April 24, a campaign of public information has been launched, which – including the production of a documentary – has been building in the run-up to a ‘Protest is not a Crime’ rally on
April 1.

Jobstown Not Guilty protest 09032017

Speaking on behalf of Jobstown Not Guilty, Tallaght Central councillor Kieran Mahon (AAA), who is set to face trial, told The Echo: “We are producing a documentary to get the real story out and counter all the negative media and political commentary and to mobilise people across the country to defend the right to protest.

“The real story is that hundreds of people came out to show their opposition to Joan Burton and to the austerity measures implemented by the Labour Party in Government.

“For showing that opposition, one youth has already been found guilty of ‘false imprisonment’ and 18 people face prison if found guilty of the charges they face.” 

Cllr Mahon stressed that the documentary, which will be screened through a number of local launches, will feature people who were present at the protest on 15 November 2014 – and who believe that they, and the wider community of Jobstown, have been “demonised” following the public demonstration.

He added: “To say that a sitdown protest and a slow march are the same as false imprisonment or kidnapping represents a serious attack on the right to protest.

“To accuse protesters of violent disorder after sitdown protesters were violently dragged, pulled and stripped by the Gardai is outrageous. It is all part of the criminalisation of protest.”

To date, the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign has received national and international support from people including Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, Eamon Dunphy, Christy Moore, Don Baker, Jean-Luc Melonchon (French PM candidate), MEPs and Trade Unionists – with a petition of support for the defendants also gathering signatures in recent weeks. 

Alongside producing the documentary, Jobstown Not Guilty is hosting an Assembly for Justice, Protest is not a Crime, at Liberty Hall on Saturday, April 1 from 1pm to 4pm.

The assembly will include speakers such as Paddy Hill, the Birmingham Six, Frances Black, Rossport five, Jimmy Kelly (Unite), former MEP Patricia McKenna and others.

A date for the release of the film has yet to be confirmed.

However, a number of local screenings will be planned for the coming weeks.

For further information visit the Jobstown Not Guilty Facebook page HERE.

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