Gardai meets protesters during an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city center. Photo: Damian Eagers / PA Wire
Brendan Kelly Palenque, Rachel Farrell, Neil Fetherstonhaugh and Robin Schiller
A number of people were arrested as hundreds of demonstrators took part in an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin.
The protesters clashed with Gardaí as they marched through the city center trying to find their way to St. Stephen’s Green Park.
Before the protest, which began around 2pm, there was a strong Garda in the city center – Presence recorded.
Attorney General Helen McEntee said tonight she spoke to the Garda Commissioner, who said, « The Dublin disruption is being brought under control. »
« I know it already There have been a number of arrests today and a special court session is being organized to ensure these law breakers are prosecuted quickly. I understand that a number of people with fixed fees have also been notified, « said Minister McEntee.
» I would like to commend the courage and professionalism of the Gardaí on duty in Dublin today, who is in an extremely challenging situation with great control and Discipline responded.
« This situation was totally unacceptable and an insult to so many who worked so hard in the fight against Covid-19 and to those who died.
» This pointless brawl showed a deliberate and blatant disregard for the public health regulations necessary to help and protect us all. «
St. Stephen’s Green Park was closed prior to the protest on orders from An Garda Síochána. The Public Works Office also announced that Iveagh Gardens will be closed today.
Videos of the protest show a protester setting fireworks at Gardai before it goes off while other rockets and objects are thrown at Gardai.
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Gardaí from across Dublin have been rerouted downtown to ensure additional resources are available to manage the protests.
A source said: “Most of the available work units in the Dublin Metropolitan Area (DMR) have been into the city.
« The additional resources are necessary because of the large number of people who have gathered in the city, which has resulted in some violent clashes as well as fireworks on frontline officers. »
Some Protesters gathered in front of the lines of Lake Garda, mocked them and shouted, “You should be ashamed” and “Why don’t you dance Jerusalem?”.
Gardai stayed in position until bottles, fireworks, cans and bottles and other items They were thrown at them.
At a signal from Senior Gardai, officers stormed forward with their batons raised and shouted, « Come back, come back » as the crowd retreated down Grafton Street Dogs from the Garda Canine Unit escorted officers as they stormed down Dublin’s main shopping street. The city’s tram operator said its services would not operate at St. Stephen’s Green stop because of the protest .
Taoiseach Micheál Martin today condemned the protests in Dublin city center and praised An Garda Síochána for their response in restoring order.
« I condemn the protests in Dublin city center today, both for the public and posed an unacceptable risk to Gardaí, in the sharpest possible way, « he said in a statement.
» Given the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the great gathering showed a complete lack of respect for the people who were great during this pandemic Have made sacrifices.
« Neither can we tolerate the sloppy behavior or attacks on gardaí, which have the greatest respect of the public, if they continue to protect and serve our society in difficult circumstances. «
» There can be no justification for the march or the violence that has unfolded, and I pay tribute to the members of An Garda Síochána who moved quickly to make arrests and restore order. «
» The Irish fought Covid last year. There is no excuse for violence against Gardaí or anyone. This behavior on Grafton Street by a few selfish victims is undermining the sacrifices that millions have made in the past 12 months, « he said on Twitter.
Frank Thornton, President of the Garda Representative Association, condemned the » aggression that against Gardaí today in Dublin « .
» Our members were at risk and society as a whole was attacked by people who disregarded the laws protecting the lives of citizens. «
» This protest was from the beginning ill-advised, fueled by conspiracy theories, and advocated by individuals trying to manipulate the real fears of many vulnerable people, « he said.
» It was a shame to see this protest turn into violent scenes with brave members of An Garda Siochana, who were subjected to unbearable physical and verbal abuse.
“Some of the eyewitness recordings in circulation are extremely troubling end, and every public official should condemn these horrific scenes.
« The footage appears to show burning fireworks being thrown at members of the Gardai by a protester, which is really shameful.
» Those brave men and women risk their lives every day in the service of the people of our state, and what they were exposed to today is extremely appalling. «
A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said: » Find this afternoon, February 27, 2021 A series of traffic diversions and other police operations are taking place in Dublin in response to a demonstration in the city center.
« A police plan has been implemented and An Garda Siochana will provide a full update upon completion of this operation. »
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