Irish activists hope for swelling of ranks


CHEERY ANTI-CAPITALIST protesters camped outside the Central Bank in Dublin will be hoping their numbers swell this weekend, buoyed as they are by poster quotes from George Orwell and Jack Kerouac, entreaties to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to “get out of Ireland”, and the encircled “A” of the global anarchist movement, all vying for position.

The protest began a week ago in sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. Similar copycat protests have emerged in cities across the world. Describing themselves as a “leaderless resistance movement”, Dublin’s protesters insist they represent the 99 per cent of people they say are bearing the brunt of the financial crisis created by others – the 1 per cent.

About 30 tents have been erected on the forecourt of the Central Bank, outside the railings, their occupants chatting to passersby or addressing small groups by megaphone, urging support for a different sort of Ireland. Around the world yesterday, people of like mind were using Facebook and similar online sites to urge a weekend of peaceful action.

Blogs and Facebook pages devoted to “October 15” – #O15 on Twitter – abound with exhortations to keep the peace, bring an open mind, a sleeping bag, food and warm clothing; in Britain, “Occupy London Stock Exchange” is at pains to stress it does not plan to actually, well, occupy the stock exchange.

“It’s time for us to unite; it’s time for them to listen; people of the world, rise up!” proclaims the website United for #GlobalChange. “We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us . . . We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organise until we make it happen.”

“We have people from all walks of life joining us every day,” said Spyro, one of those behind a Facebook page in London which has some 12,000 followers in a few weeks. Some 5,000 have said they will turn out, but some activists expect that fewer will. – (Additional reporting Reuters/PA)