A coming Winter of Discontent, and Marches, Gardai must show Restraint?

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Gardai arrest 11 people after violent clashes break out at anti-mask protests in Dublin city

Anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered on O’Connell Street and Grafton street in the city centre in protest of Covid-19 lockdown rule

Gardai have arrested 11 people after clashes broke out at an anti-mask demonstration in Dublin today.

A group of protesters took to the streets on Thursday in defiance of Covid-19 restrictions as Level Five took effect.

Anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered on O’Connell Street and Grafton street in the city centre in protest of Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Gardai said they informed protesters on a number of occasions that they were breaching public health guidelines and asked them to disperse.

At around 5:30pm, as protesters began to disperse, Gardai said a small group started to become involved in “public disorder incidents”.

Large Garda presence on Dublins Grafton Street after an Anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city centre (Image: Stephen Collins)
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A number of clashes could be seen breaking out on Grafton Street as gardai attempted to subdue a number of protesters

11 people were subsequently arrested for public order offences.

No injuries were reported and gardai say the rest of the group dispersed from the area “without serious incident”.

The 11 people arrested are currently detained at Garda Stations across the capital.

Gardai have now launched an investigation to find out who the organisers of the event were and will seek advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions on what further action should be taken.

11 people were arrested for public order offences (Image: Damien Storan)
Gardai say they have no role in permitting or authorising protest marches or gatherings, there is no permit/ authorisation required for such events.

A garda spokesperson said: “11 people have been arrested for public order offences after Gardaí were forced to intervene during a protest in Dublin City Centre on Thursday, 22nd April, 2020.

“A full Garda operation was in place from early afternoon as the protestors assembled at O’Connell Bridge and later moved to East Wall Road and onto Grafton Street.

“Gardaí engaged with the protesters on a number of occasions using the a graduated policing response during which Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.

On a number of occasions protesters were informed that they were in breach to Public Health Regulations and asked to disperse.

At approximately 5:30pm, as protesters began to disperse, a small group started to become involved in public disorder incidents on Grafton Street. 

11 people were arrested by Gardaí for public order offences following a number of incidents in the area. No injuries were reported and the rest of the group dispersed from the area without serious incident.

The 11 people arrested are currently detained at Garda Stations in Dublin.

“Members of the Garda Public Order Unit were deployed in ‘soft cap’ mode at the protest in support of uniform colleagues, in support of the graduated policing response. (‘soft Cap’ is Public Order members in Public Order Suits and Baseball Caps NOT public order helmets, body pads and shields)

An investigation focused on the organisers of this protest is now underway. The advices of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken.” i

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