Protesters chanted slogans outside the Irish Embassy in Athens on Wednesday 24 September in support of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly.
Around 1.00pm a delegation visited the ambassador and presented our demands. The delegation was made up of the following:
- D. Stratoulis , on behalf of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (the Greek TUC)
- P. Lafazanis, Member of Parliament, on behalf of the political secretariat of Synaspismos (Left Progressive Party)
- T. Giannopoulos, on behalf of the Greek Social Forum, and
- A. Payiatsos, on behalf of Xekinima, the Greek section of the CWI, sister organisation of the Socialist Party in Ireland.
The delegation explained their position and handed a written resolution to the Embassy staff, demanding that their views be conveyed to the government in Ireland.
Also, on Tuesday 23 September, a protest took place outside the European Union Offices in Salonica (there is no Irish embassy in Salonica) in support of Joe and Clare
Resolution handed by demonstrators to Irish Embassy in Athens, Wednesday 24 September 2003:
Protest at Joe Higgins and Clare Daily’s incarceration
We, representatives or Greek social movements, trade union organisations, political parties and organisations, environmental groups, women’s organisations, student unions, etc, strongly protest the arrest and imprisonment of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly, TD and councillor respectively of the Socialist Party in Ireland, because of their involvement in the struggle for the abolition of the bin tax.
We note that:
- 76% of the people of Ireland consider the tax unjust and undesirable.
- Ireland is a low tax heaven for profit making companies, national and multinational, with the lowest tax on profits in the EU (12.5%) and the highest income tax on workers (over 80% of total)
- Tax cuts amounting to 1.5 bn euros have been made to big companies over the last couple of years.
The attempt by the Irish government to present the tax as environmental is an insult to common sense, particularly since, according to 2001 figures, of the 80 mn tons of waste in the republic, only 1.2 mn tons are due to households.
In these circumstances the refusal of ordinary Irish people to pay the bin tax is fully justified whereas the resolution of the Irish government and local authorities to collect waste only from those households that paid the tax is simply unbelievable. It only leads to a blind alley and will only intensify resistance to the neo-liberal, anti-working class policies of your government.
We view the imprisonment of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly as an attack on democratic rights. It is an attempt to crush a movement, which has the support of the majority. Precisely because the Irish government cannot hope to have the support of the majority, it calls upon the courts.
This is not the first time courts have been used in the attempt to attack a movement. In reality courts are always used against every significant movement. But history teaches another lesson: they are never successful in the end!
We stand by the working class families in Ireland who oppose the unjust tax imposed by your government.
We stand by Joe and Clare and will support them in every possible way.
Athens, September 24, 2003