Tag: protests

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines

U.S. persecution of Black Americans dominate global headlines and we are not even 30 days into the New Year.

The most recent headline is the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who the Scorpion Unit stopped and brutally beat earlier this year. On January 10, Nichols succumbed to his injuries. Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean and Preston Hemphill, were among the officers involved in Nichols death.

Days before Nichols’ death, law enforcement officers killed Keenan Anderson, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matters movement.

Both videos depict two men, Nichols and Anderson, who were both visibly frightened of law enforcement officers and fled. In one video, Nichols can be heard screaming for his mom while five officers punched and kicked him repeatedly. In the other video, Anderson can be heard yelling, “You are trying to George Floyd me.”

There is a debate among Americans as to whether these incidents should be considered acts of racism. CCG Bryson, who is known for his Christian conservative rapping, said “Can someone explain, logically, how 5 black officers killing a black man is white supremacy?” To which, Tariq Nasheed responded, it was the “white supremacist power structure that created that police unit that allocated the resources to them, trained them and incentivize them to go out there and terrorize the black community. That’s 100% white supremacy.” To be sure, prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said on The Daily Show that “the race of the police officer isn’t the determining factor of whether they’re going to commit excessive use of force. But it is the race of the victim. And it’s often Black and brown people who bear the brunt of police brutality.”

It must be emphasized that American law enforcement officers’ harassment and treatment of Black Americans as suspects, through pedestrian and traffic stops, has been thoroughly researched. A recent study found when police use tactics to gain control in encounters with civilians, such as issuing commands in an aggressive way, it fosters fear and make those encounters less predictable (Pickett, Graham & Cullen, 2022). For instance, an officers’ frightening commands may cause an individual to flee the scene, or result in them being hesitant to leave their vehicles even when officers command them to (Pickett, Graham & Cullen, 2022).

U.S. Persecution of Black Americans Dominate Global Headlines. Will the International Community Step In?

In 2016, the IACHR found U.S. law and practices regarding police killings soared to high levels of impunity (Canada, 2022). As a result, the IACHR urged the U.S. to conduct “exhaustive, impartial, independent, effective and prompt investigations.” Although human rights bodies have repeatedly advised the U.S. to bring its domestic law into compliance with international law and standards on use of force practices, the U.S. has failed to comply (Canada, 2022).

As I mentioned last year, in Bullets of Terror: Staring Down the Second Amendment’s Barrel of Death, the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety does not go far enough, nor does it provide for specific criminal legislation for penalties against race-based policing that often results in death for many Black Americans.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made clear that police are not free to use any amount of force. Indeed, the CERD stated the brutality and excessive or deadly use of force by law enforcement officials against Black and Latinx Americans, including against unarmed individuals, was deeply concerning. It also was concerned at the persistence of the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement officials in the U.S.

Both the End Racial Profiling Act of 2019 (H.R.4339) and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 (H.R.1280) have not made it pass the House. Moreover, U.S. federal and state legislation that regulates the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials is not in accordance with international law and international standards.

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Conor McGregor Stands in Solidarity With East Wall

Conor McGregor Stands in Solidarity With East Wall

The locals in Dublin who have been protesting the housing of ‘military aged male’ asylum seekers and Conor McGregor stands in solidarity with East Wall. A Twitter user accused McGregor of wanting to be a politician, but the two division UFC World Champion stated, “…no I do not want to be a politician. Just that they have to answer to me.”

Over the past few weeks, locals have taken to the streets and protested the housing of male asylum seekers in Clondalkin, Dublin, Fermoy and Wicklow.  They have also called for a referendum on Ireland’s current immigration policy, which has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures. Concerns raised in their petition revolve around the alleged sexual of assaults on girls, the alleged harassment of women, the alleged illegitimate claims made by asylum seekers, and the closing of nursing homes to house asylum seekers.

In the midst of the tension, Dublin Live reported that as many as 100 refugees moved into the East Wall centre on 15 December, inflaming the locals, who have called on the centre to be shut down. 

Conor McGregor Stands With East Wall
Courtesy of Conor McGregor

East Wall Here For All posted a press release on the same day stating it would “maintain positive relations for all residents in East Wall and surrounding communities.” It further asserted that it would both “meet with residents in the direct provision centres,” and “consult with residents” residing in Dublin.

Conor McGregor Stands in Solidarity With East Wall. Anyone Else?

No blue checkmark figures retweeted the Cage Warrior’s tweet in support of East Wall nor has any responded in opposition to his support for the protesters. However, U.S. politician Kawika Freitas, business consultant Andreya Taylor, Irish hurler Peter Quellay, and Antelope Hill Publishing have all liked the tweet.

McGregor has strongly opposed Ireland’s membership in the European Union, and has made comments such as “It is time to talk to Ireland leaving the European Union.”

Dublin locals protest housing of asylum seekers

Dublin locals Protest Housing of Asylum Seekers

Dublin locals protest housing of asylum seekers. East Wall locals marched down the Quays toward Dublin Port in protest over the recent housing of asylum seekers in the ESB Building. The locals travelled across the Samuel Beckett Bridge toward the Five Lamps on Amiens Street.

An Irish local tweeted “people are not blaming refugees.” Based on the tweet, the blame lands on the Government’s asylum policy. For instance, several locals claim that the government has not placed a cap on immigration into Ireland. 

Another belief is that asylum seekers are engaging in passport obliteration to frustrate deportation efforts. Indeed, solicitor Malachy Steenson stated on Red FM 104 that 40% of asylum seekers “lose their passport between boarding the plane and getting off.” According to Steenson, the advantage of destroying one’s passport is that one can “spin any story they want.”

Steenson is not wrong. The Irish Times reported that thousands of asylum seekers arrive at Dublin Airport with no travel documents.

Conor Gallagher claims approximately 2,915 people who filed asylum claims did not produce travel documents at the Irish border.

There are two theories behind passport obliteration. First, passport obliteration allows a person to enter a country without their true identity being known to officials. Second, passport obliteration lies down an anchor in the country. Hence, immigration officials cannot deport an individual to a country if they do not know what country the individual fled.

While engagement in passport obliteration could be for the reasons Steenson claims, it may also be for other reasons. For example, an individual may engage in passport obliteration because their country of origin has a low Convention Refugee Declaration approval rate.

East Wall’s call for a referendum to change Ireland’s current immigration policy has now garnered 1,793 signatures. It’s 1,000 signature goal has been revised to 2,500.

Clondalkin Set to Join East Wall Protests

Clondalkin Set to Join East Wall Protests

Locals have circulated a flyer on Twitter showing Clondalkin set to join East Wall protests on 12 December 2022. The town of Clondalkin has a population of 46,813 and is known for its eight-century tower round, which is one of the four remaining towers in the county of Dublin.

Recently, opposition to immigration protests have occurred in Cork, Dublin and Wicklow. The most recent flyer circulated among several platforms allege the Irish government and representatives are not being honest. It further alleges government officials are “creating incorrect narratives” about the Clondalkin community’s “concerns regarding the influx of undocumented refugees.”

East Wall protesters have also uploaded a petition on Change.org, calling for a referendum to change Ireland’s current immigration policy. According to the East Wall’s abstract, Ireland’s infrastructure cannot sustain current level of inward migration. The petition further demands that “the government put the question immediately before the people by way of referendum.”

Two of the reasons given for signing the petition are Ireland’s homeless emergency situation and the influx of male asylum seekers. The petition has garnered 700 signatures at the time of this article, 300 short of its 1,000 signature goal.

Clondalkin set to join East Wall protests. Will there be opposition?

It is not immediately clear if pro-immigrant groups will counter the petition or protest in opposition of Clondalkin locals on Monday. However, there seems to be a protest against asylum seekers and refugees in Tallaght Cookstown.

In John Draper‘s article, the Irish in post-war Britain faced prejudice comparable to that suffered by Commonwealth immigrants. For example, signs were plastered all over the United Kingdom that stated “No Blacks, No dogs, No Irish.” Supporters of asylum seekers continue to remind the Irish of this dreadful history, and the discrimination and ostracism they faced while migrating. But the locals state recent protests, and those that will follow, are not about discrimination or racism. It is about something much bigger. Safety.

Irish People Call for Referendum on Asylum

Irish People Call for Referendum on Asylum

Irish people call for referendum on asylum timeline

Irish people call for referendum on asylum while marching into the inner city. The protest movement have clogged traffic at Busaras, Amiens, and Junction street in Dublin.

Thursday 6:02 P.M. — Traffic stalled at Samuel Beckett

The East Wall protests have further stalled traffic at the Samuel Beckett Bridge, a popular tourists attraction in Ireland. Claims surfaced on Twitter that two direct provision centres in historical postal district of Dublin (4), where asylum seekers stay in Ireland, have been foreclosed due to a High Court injunction. The alleged centres are those on Pembroke Road and Nutley Lane. But an article states that an injunction was granted in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, not for the reasons alleged, but to prevent protesters from interfering with the construction of the asylum accommodation structure.

Irish People Call for Referendum on Asylum
Courtesy of @RealMessages Eire

United Against Racism and Dublin locals stand in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees at the Spire. A popular tweet in support of asylum seekers alleges the anti-immigration protests are “being led by racists, not by individuals who are concern for children, women and men.”

Protest signs

Some of the protest signs seen in Dublin, as Irish people call for a referendum on asylum are: “Refugees Welcome“, “The safety of our children is important to #EastWall” , “Paschal Donohoe: Out, Out, Out,” and “Roderick O’Gorman: Out, Out, Out. Donohoe is the Fine Gael TD for Dublin Central. He was re-appointed as the Minister for Finance for Ireland in June 2020. O’Gorman was elected Green Party TD for Dublin West, and has served as Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth since June 2020.

Irish People Call for Referendum on Asylum
Courtesy of @ThoughtsToby

There is an ongoing dispute on how many protesters showed on the streets in Dublin. An anti-fascist protester states approximately 30 anti-immigration protesters appeared, while others allege more.

Why are Irish people protesting in Fermoy?

Why are Irish people protesting in Fermoy?

Why are Irish people protesting in Fermoy? Well, Derek Blighe, the founder of Ireland First, a grassroots movement whose axiom is decisions made by the Rialtas no hÉireann must benefit the people of Ireland, went from east to south to protest the housing of ‘military aged male’ asylum seekers on the island. Reports continue to surface that locals are concerned about the lack of consultation with the community ahead of housing male asylum seekers in East Wall, Wicklow, and Fermoy. 

Why Are Irish People Protesting in East Wall?

Alison O’Reilly, whose video garnered 45.4K views on Twitter, says 300 protesters have blocked the Port Tunnel and adjoining East Wall road in Dublin over asylum seekers moving into the area. Another Irish voice, Brian J. Sutherland, believes the protests “are a result of a decision by the Irish or UK government to allow, what appears to be an unlimited number of aliens in, without any kind of due diligence as to the housing and other needs of families and individuals already living here.”

Others contend the Port Tunnel protest is organised by the far right, who is preying on society’s struggles and weaponising legitimate social issues, such as medical care and the housing crisis in Ireland.

Why Are Irish People Protesting in Fermoy?

The Fermoy protests are rooted in humanitarianism—that “everyone should have a home,” whether they are Irish or Fermoy refugees. “War and oppression, and poverty and religions or state intimidation” are all causes people seek refuge, says one speaker at the Fermoy Refugee Welcome Event.  According to another Fermoy resident, the event was to show “we are a country of a thousand welcomes, not insular, suspicious and racist”—a charge launched against the anti-asylum movement at East Wall. This seems to be the reason why Irish people are protesting in Fermoy.

No Consultation Redundancy – Anti-immigrant Position

Several of the anti-immigration protesters are concerned parents against what they call “no homes for the Irish,”  “unprovoked attacks” on women, and a no consultation redundancy from politicians. They also believe majority of the individuals coming to Ireland are economic migrants—foreign nationals who emigrate to Ireland to improve their standard of living because job opportunities in their home country are insufficient. Further, they contend most asylum seekers are not fleeing war in Ukraine. There is also the notion that asylum seekers are not being finger-printed at the Irish border. 

Housing Crisis Ireland – Pro-Immigrant Position

However, Paul Murphy argues that “responsibility for this housing crisis…does not lie at all with people who are fleeing from war and persecution.” In Murphy’s opinion, the housing emergency “lies with the developers who are sitting on vacant land; the landlords who are hiking rent; and lies with the government that presides over a system which encourages all of that.” In regards to the unprovoked attacks on Irish women by migrant men, the Togher Gardai officers have stated they are not seeing reports, at least in Cork, on this concern. Togher Gardai has further stated if these attacks are happening, women need to come forward.

Must One Flee War to Seek International Protection? 

Anti-immigrant protesters in Ireland are likely referring to subsidiary protection when they argue non-Ukrainian asylum seekers are not fleeing war. On the authority of the UNHCR, subsidiary protection means that an individual cannot be returned to their country of origin because they face (i) the death penalty or execution; (ii) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (iii) serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conflict.

They have a point in thinking that fleeing war is the only ground on which one can claim asylum. However, there are other grounds. According to the UNHCR, international protection refers to both refugee and subsidiary protection statuses. A person who claims asylum in Ireland is seeking international protection from persecution or serious harm in their home country. An asylum seeker can launch a claim against their country on one, multiple, or all enumerated grounds: race, membership of a particular social group, political opinion, nationality, and religion.

While the community’s concerns about economic migration should not be dismissed, protesting in front of asylum housing centres may not be the most effective way to address the problem. First, asylum seekers do not have the authority to speak for Ireland on economic issues. Second, more research is needed to better understand why foreign nationals flee their home countries, and if the purpose of migration is a financial one. Third, an individual may flee their home country based on an enumerated ground that intersect with an economic issue. For instance, a woman may flee her country because a law may bar women from being employed. If this is the case, a woman may need to flee because (1) she is a woman (gender), (2) she has taken a stance against the government (political), and because (3) she seeks employment (economic). This leads one to believe that determining who constitutes an economic migrant can be a daunting one.

Migrant Fight Back

The truth of the matter is all adult asylum seekers are being finger-printed when they arrive in Ireland. This is done by the Eurodact system. During this process, an asylum seeker’s fingerprints are compared with fingerprint data transmitted by other participating States stored in the central database. According to the European Commission, if Eurodac shows that the fingerprints have already been recorded, the asylum seeker can be sent back to the country where their fingerprints were originally taken.

One can agree up to a certain point with the argument that foreign nationals from certain regions have not been vetted. However, it is argued here that doing so in many cases would undermine the humanitarian function of asylum, as legitimate asylum seekers often flee persecution meted out by State Agents. If a host country relied on information from an individual’s host country to determine whether one should gain entry, this would likely undercut Ireland’s negative obligations under international law.

For now, it seems, from east to south, housing demonstrations will continue on the streets of Ireland.If you enjoyed the balanced take on the recent Ireland protests or, would like to counter-argue the points made in this article, be sure to contact me below.

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