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Protest after water charge demonstrators jailed for contempt

Thursday 19 February 2015 18.28

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Protesters marching from the GPO in the direction of Mountjoy Prison
Protesters marching from the GPO in the direction of Mountjoy Prison

Around 200 protesters have marched from O’Connell Street to Mountjoy Prison after five water charge protesters, who were found in contempt of court, were given jail sentences.

Three people were jailed for 28 days and two others were given sentences of 56 days each.

Following the ruling this afternoon a group of protesters blocked a garda van from exiting the complex at the Courts of Criminal Justice.

A group of protesters also blocked traffic near the CCJ on Parkgate Street, before beginning a slow march in front of the traffic towards the city centre.

O’Connell Bridge was blocked for a short time, before the protest moved towards the GPO on O’Connell Street, where there was a sit-down protest by a number of people.

The protesters marched towards Mountjoy Prison this evening and traffic in the city has been severely disrupted.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has condemned the jailings.

AAA TD Paul Murphy said: «The jailing of these protesters and the arrests in Tallaght is an attack on the right of communities to protest against the imposition of austerity measures, in this case the water charge and meters, which are being imposed by the government despite the massive opposition to them.

«Once again, the courts have been used to attack the right of people to engage in peaceful protest.»

The Right2Water campaign described the sentences handed down to the five men as «an unnecessary and provocative decision brought about by an unfair water charge that has already been rejected and cannot work».

In a statement the group said: «The protesters jailed today are simply protecting themselves, their children and their communities from further political attacks on their living standards. They should be freed without delay».