Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

29 April 2004 Edition

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May Day misinformation

May Day is traditionally the day when the workers of the world unite through marches and demonstrations. It is a day based around principles of equality, rights and solidarity. You could be forgiven for not knowing that, though, if you were relying on the Irish media to give you any insight.

From headlines such as 'May Day Madness', 'Anarchy rules', to 'Dublin will burn', many of the papers and the broadcast media have gone out of their way to convince the public in Dublin that if they want to stay safe this Saturday, they should lock themselves indoors. This is, apparently, the only way to avoid running into the lawless mobs of protesting lunatics who will be attempting to wreck a day that should be a celebration of Europe.

The media, as usual, has got it wrong. Saturday's protest over the Dublin EU Summit is called 'Another Europe is Possible'. The people involved in the march want to build a Europe of equals, not an EU Superstate where smaller countries will have no say.

For its part, Sinn Féin wants a globally responsible EU, an economically and socially just EU. Republicans want to build a Europe that leads the way in the cancellation of debt in the developing world, that is nuclear free, that protects the environment and that welcomes and trades fairly with other regions. Unfortunately, this vision is far from the current reality.

Several politicians have even claimed that those protesting on May Day are against the ascension states. This is an absolute untruth.

The message the Government is sending out does not exactly bode well for a peaceful protest. Thousands of Gardaí in riot gear will lead a vast security operation. Razor wire will be placed around Farmleigh House where the European heads of state will share dinner. Water cannon will be at the ready. The Government's message is - our dinner is much more important than your right to exercise your civil liberties and protest.

This demonising of dissent is a worrying sign for democracy and an excellent example of the continuing relevance of and need for May Day.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1