Over in Ireland, the struggle against water meters and water charges is still going strong, and the state is still attempting to criminalise it.
The big story at the moment is still the Jobstown trial, where some protestors who caused a bit of inconvenience to Joan Burton, the Labour politician who was then Deputy Prime Minister, by sitting down in the road in front of her car, are facing the incredibly serious charge of false imprisonment.
Every day in the the Jobstown trial seems to bring a new ridiculous development: last time I wrote about it, I was struck by the government minister who gave evidence saying she thought the protest was a menacing and intimidating scene, even though there’s televised footage of her saying that she didn’t condemn what happened that day from the run-up to the last election, the copper who said that rocks were thrown at the car, and that the statement they wrote at the time, which did not mention any rocks being thrown, must have been a mistake, and the footage from a police helicopter, with a voiceover saying “the jeep coulda went backwards ages ago, but they seem to not want to do that… there’s no hassle really.” Since then, we’ve also seen a copper refer to the protest, where not a single person was killed or injured, as a “Hillsborough-type situation”, among countless other lies from the police. Oh, and I’d somehow managed to miss the news about her political advisor, who was also in the car at the time, being filmed referring to the protestors as “the fucking dregs of society” (which would make a great name for a punk band, by the way).
The Jobstown campaign have produced a lot of videos, including evidence from the court, to get the truth out about what actually happened that day:
Alongside the Jobstown case, there are number of other less high-profile cases going on against people who’re alleged to have taken direct action. On that note, a major piece of good news came in mid-May, as a court ruled that the Section 12 obstruction legislation being used to prosecute people who blocked the installation of water meters did not cover the activities of private companies – five people have had their cases thrown out of court as a result, and it looks likely that the same will happen to everyone else facing Section 12 charges.
Meanwhile, grassroots direct action against water meters continues to take place on a day-to-day basis. Pages like Water Meter Scalping share instructional videos on how water meters can be removed:
And the brilliant Women Water Warriors have videos of their expeditions set to Little Mix: