The Song of James Connolly rang out in front of the Dáil, as Kildare Street was blockaded by a Palestinian Solidarity Rally organised by USI, People Before Profit, Trinity College Dublin BDS, and the Anti-War Coalition.
Students’ Unions from across the country attended the protest which took place on the evening of Monday 9th of October. Zaid Al-Barghouthi, VP for Campaigns at the Union of Students in Ireland, was one of the organisers of the protest. Speaking to the crowd, Mr. Al-Barghouthi said that he spoke “as a representative of students but also as a proud Palestinian.”
He condemned the response of the international community to the conflict in Gaza. Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for People Before Profit spoke at the rally and condemned the EU’s response and shouted “Surely the Palestinian people have the same rights as those of Ukraine.” He called for aid and funding to be diverted to help with the crisis developing in the Middle East.
After speeches from politicians and prominent activists, such as Ibrahim Halawa the crowd voted by a show of hands to march to the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge. At the embassy, a collection of flowers and cards with Israeli flags had been left outside to commemorate the Israeli deaths in the conflict. A small number of protestors vandalised these items and burnt an Israeli Flag.
One protestor jumped over the railing of the embassy with a can of red paint, he was apprehended by Gardaí and arrested. The Garda Public Order Unit was at the scene during the protest.
UCDSU President Martha Ní Riada was in attendance at the protest and spoke to The College Tribune saying; “Today’s protest is important because it is vital to show solidarity with our Palestinian students and everyone who is suffering in this horrible tragic time. Often many news outlets are saying ‘It’s terrible on both sides we can’t be promoting war’ but often it’s them ignoring the years and years of fight and struggle that Palestinians have had.”
“If you really believe in decolonisation, this is often the result of that. It’s the result of years and years of brutality that has forced the Palestinians into this.”
“We’re here to give our solidarity to Palestinian students and everyone else who might be affected by this horrible time, and to know that if they are affected there is support in UCD. They can reach out and UCD does want to support them.”
Hugh Dooley – Co-Editor