International Left rallies around Jobstown protestors

Gestures of support have been extended to protesters accused of falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton in Jobstown, Dublin, from French Leftwing presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, academic Noam Chomsky and former Birmingham Six prisoner, Paddy Hill.

Seven water charges protesters are to stand trial in April accused of false imprisonment over the alleged blocking of Burton’s car for two hours on November 15th, 2014.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD, Paul Murphy, who is one of the accused, said: “If people want to protest against a war in future by having a sit-down protest, if there’s a prochoice march and there’s a slow march, if people want to have effective picketing at their workplaces, if they get away with convicting us of false imprisonment, then all of those things are going to be false imprisonment.”

The protestors are expected to reference the freedom of assembly guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights as part of their courtroom defence.

Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna has described the false imprisonment charges as “a new low” and a “gross abuse of power” on behalf of the political establishment. At its AGM in February the Labour Party in Northern Ireland also passed a motion extending solidarity to the Jobstown protesters adding, “citizens’ only option to have their voice heard is through standing collectively in defense of their rights.”

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