Protesting against the Belly Wien Circus
I don’t like the circus and hand on heart have never brought either of my children to any circus that involves animal entertainment.
I have always been an animal lover, I open windows to let flies out and catch spiders in glasses to release in a safe area. I have six cats and do as much fundraising for animal charities as I can. When I heard that the controversial Belly Wien circus was coming to Ireland I felt that I just had to do something. So for the first time in my life I decided to go to one of the protests.
I had heard through the grapevine that I had to be there at approximately 6.30pm so having parked around the corner I walked up to the area where the circus was pitched. I first heard the cars on the Greenhills Road all beeping their horns whether in solidarity with the circus or the protestors I can’t be sure. Walking into the car park at the back of the Cuckoo’s Nest pub (recently closed) I observed that there were about 150 to 200 protestors all chanting ‘ Circus Trade – Slave Trade’ and ‘ Shame, Shame, Shame on you’. I found one of my companions and joined in. It didn’t take long to learn all the chants and was chanting along with all the rest of them with great gusto. There were about 10 Guards in high viz jackets quietly watching the protest. I saw that there were 4 crowd control vans but at this time I did not see the riot police. The protest was loud but peaceful.
One of the most surprising aspects of the protest was how young they all were, most were teenagers and young adults with a scattering of older people. Groups like the National Animal Rights Association are following the circus around Ireland to protest against them. There was a nervous energy about the place as the previous night there had been violence between the circus workers and the protestors, however, tonight it was calm as the workers stayed firmly behind the barriers. The ticket office was very quiet but around 7.15 some people started to arrive to attend the show and were blocked by protestors. Within minutes there were about 20 riot police dragging two of the protestors to a waiting police car and the crowd surged towards them in great anger. There was a lot of shouting and scuffling but no violence. Then the riot police stood in front of the ticket office to allow people to get tickets. The protestors were angry and there were shouts of ‘scum’ and ‘boos’ at the few people who braved the crowds to enter the circus. The sad thing is that the children they had with were all very young possible aged from 3 to 10. Regardless of your views on circuses I personally feel that this would have been very scary for them and really should not have been there. The protestors dispersed about 8pm.
The protests are going on every night that the circus tent is pitched and from the protestors point of view they are very happy with the results as very few are attending this barbaric circus.
by Brenda Clarke