Shannon Protests Continue

Activists brave the harsh weather at Shannon

Despite the wind and rain, a group of 15 people turned out on Sunday 8th May at Shannon to protest against the ongoing U.S. military use of the airport. People traveled from Galway, Cork, Dublin and other parts of the country to join with locals for the regular monthly event.  For this they all deserve great credit and thanks.

The number of U.S. military flights through Shannon increased in April after a fall off in the previous months. At least 10 Hercules landings during the month, the biggest number since last November. The number of executive jets operated by the U.S. military and/or navy that passed through Shannon was also up in April. It is not known if any of these increases were linked to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

As the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ireland on 23rd May approaches, it is important that Irish people remember his many broken promises in relation to human rights and peace. Many of these are encapsulated in a statement he made on the 60 Minutes programme on November 16th 2008: "I have said repeatedly that I will close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that.". He reiterated it just after becoming U.S. president on January 23, 2009: "Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now We can abide by a rule that says we don't torture."

Tough day at the office for the Gardai at Shannon, protecting warplanes from peaceful protesters

Not only is Guantanamo still open, Obama even signed an executive order to resume military trials there on March 7, 2011. This also establishes a "periodic review" process for long-held Guantanamo detainees who have not been charged, convicted or designated for transfer. According to a White House fact sheet at the time, these "must continue to be detained because they 'in effect, remain at war with the United States ...". Like his predecessor George W. Bush he is showing blatent disregard for their human rights.

In a 2006 speech Barack Obama also said "As President, I will make it a focus of my foreign policy to roll back the tide of hopelessness that gives rise to hate."

Locking people up indefinitely in Guantanamo without trial, sending assassination squads to take out his enemies, overseeing the killing of civilians by unmanned aerial vehicles in Afghanistan and Pakistan, trenchantly supporting Israeli oppression and persecution of Palestinians ... these are not what a man who wants to end hopelessness and hate should be doing.

For this reason, Shannonwatch and other like-minded groups around the country will be organising peaceful demonstrations to coincide with the Obama visit to Ireland. They will also continue to hold regular monthly demonstrations at Shannon Airport and to demand that the Irish Government uphold its commitment to enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law.

More details of the Obama visit demonstrations will be made available soon.

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