Report of London picket to Free Margaretta D’Arcy, Free Shannon! Wed 22 Jan.
Almost 50 people join the vigil outside the Irish Embassy in London on 22 January demanding Free Margaretta D’Arcy! Free Shannon!
John Tymon from Kilburn Stop the War called the lively and angry protest at the imprisonment of Margaretta D’Arcy, playwright and anti-war protestor. It was joined by the Global Women’s Strike and a number of other organisations. Amongst those participating were Irish trade unionists, a number of pensioners and women with disabilities. Placards included the much-admired poster made by Irish activists showing Ms D’Arcy armed with her zimmer frame reclaiming Shannon airport runway from a military jet!
Speaker after speaker testified to Ms D’Arcy’s spirited, determined and principled contributions to the international movement against war and for justice, expressing outrage that she, a 79-year-old cancer patient, should be imprisoned for three months for defending Irish neutrality. Speakers at the open mic included Selma James GWS, Gerry Dunning Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group, Austin Harney of the Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities, Michael Kalmanovitz of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Caribbean Labour Solidarity, Troops out of Ireland, Women of Colour GWS and two ex-Greenham women.
Speeches were punctuated with strong chanting demanding ‘Free Margaretta, Free Shannon’ and ‘US Military out of Ireland, US Military out of the World’.
Kay and Sian, who were at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (83-84), described Ms D’Arcy’s contribution to maintaining the camp’s presence at the US Airforce cruise missile nuclear weapons base during the 80’s and 90’s. Ms D’Arcy spent weeks at a time living at Yellow (main) Gate, even after the camp’s protest had fallen out of favour because of its principled opposition to racism in the peace movement and its non-aligned opposition to nuclear weapons of every state. After cruise missiles left the base, women at Yellow Gate fought on to end the military occupation of the Common, culminating in the historic House of Lords’ ruling that the base was illegal – the land was restored to the people in 1997.
The vigil closed with a delegation of five who handed in a statement from the Global Women’s Strike in Ireland and globally, to free Ms D’Arcy. It was signed by over 60 people from around the world (with more still coming in). It was accepted by Noleen Curran for the Irish Ambassador.
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