Mon, 05 Oct, 2020 – 23:00
Gardaí are bracing themselves for a possible repeat of the violence from right-wing extremists that was witnessed at an ‘anti-mask’ protest three weeks ago.
It comes as detectives are said to be making “good progress” in their investigation into an assault during that protest outside the Dáil and hope to submit a file to the DPP soon.
Separately, gardaí have identified suspected organisers of last Saturday’s protest on Dublin’s Grafton Street, during which hundreds of ‘anti-mask’ protestors staged a sit down on the pedestrianised street.
Gardaí in the city centre are worried that there could be similar violence this weekend to that which occurred on the edges of an ‘anti-mask’ demonstration outside Leinster House on September 12.
“There is a big concern at the extreme right,” said one senior source. “They did not appear this Saturday, but they are expected next Saturday, when there is another protest planned.”
The source said: “The fear is it could be like three weeks ago and the fascists may be there, up to cause trouble. There could be confrontation between them and the Antifa side and we need to get between them.”
Gardaí say the far-right groupings “latch on” to other protests, such as the ‘anti-mask’ movement.
“They are gougers,” said a source, “up to cause a bit of mayhem. We know a lot of them.” Why people have had just about enough of lockdowns
Gardaí make progress on assault investigation and in identifying protest organisers
Meanwhile, detectives conducting an investigation into an assault on a well-known anti-fascist protestor Izzy Kamikaze outside the Dáil on September 12 are said to be making “good progress” in their inquiries.
Gardaí dismissed allegations from far-right groups that there was no assault and that fake blood was used.Learn more
“There was an assault and she got a bad belt to the head,” said one source.
It is suspected that her assailant struck her on the head with a plank of wood that had a tricolour wrapped around it.
Ms Kamikaze was one of four counter-protestors, three of them women, who were surrounded by a larger group of mainly men, many hooded and masked.
Members of the group pushed the counter-protestors and shouted verbal abuse and chanted offensive slogans at them.
It is understood detectives are hopeful of a positive outcome to their investigation and a file is due to go to the DPP in the coming weeks.
Separately, a criminal investigation is underway into the organisers of last Saturday’s ‘anti-mask’ protest, at which hundreds of people packed Dublin’s pedestrianised Grafton Street and staged a sit down.
The Irish Examiner understands that a shortlist of suspected organisers has been identified.
Sources said these individuals will be interviewed and other evidence gathered, and a file prepared for the DPP.
Under Covid-19 legislation, it is a criminal offence to organise an outdoor event for more than 15 people.
Images of the protest on Dublin’s premier shopping street were circulated online, including by staff at shops along it.
Gardaí said protesters had gathered at Customs House Quay, after which a smaller group headed for an ESB depot in Dublin Port, apparently to protest over rising electricity prices. A larger group walked across to the southside and up towards Trinity College.
But instead of taking Nassau Street towards the Dáil, as usual for protests, they entered Grafton Street.
Garda sources stressed they had no power to prevent them, pointing out that taking part in an organised event is not an offence.
“Protests can go anywhere,” said one garda. “We have no power to stop them.”