A court case began this week in the Children's Court, Dublin against a juvenile, the first member of 18 protesters charged with falsely imprisoning Joan Burton and her adviser during an anti water charge protest in November 2014. The accused was 15 at the time of the water protest at Fortunestown Road in Jobstown in Tallaght, Dublin. The last day of this first case is set for 27th September when, as the jargon goes, 'a verdict will be handed down'.
Many might not read much into this little case in the juvenile court but many would see itas the State flexing it's muscle, using the full force of the legal system to come down hard on a working class community and the general principle of the right to protest. In this first case it is picking on a juvenile breaking up the case into separate cases. Possibly it believes that this is potentially a weak link in the Jobstown Not Guilty Campaign.
The case against the 18 Jobstown protesters accused of falsely imprisoning Joan Burton is no minor matter. If convicted the accused could receive lengthy prison sentences. No matter what this case will have historic relevance and could have serious intended consequences for anyone protesting.
The State's historic repressive apparatus
How would one look at the State's assault against the working class in 1913 when 'William Murder Murphy', a journalist, a member of parliament and prominent bussinessman initiated the Dublin Lockout of 1913?
Central to that dispute was the 'right to unionise'. Central to the jobstown case is the 'right to protest'. But common to both is the assault on our freedom.
We wonder how former minister Joan Burton would react to a similar nickname?