Fine Gael TD calls for Cork anti-lockdown protest to be banned
battle for survival© Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images Members of Garda (Irish Police) block protesters in Grafton Street from passing further during Anti-Lockdown protest outside Saint Stephen’s Green entrance, during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, Fabruary 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A protest against Covid-19 controls being organised online for Cork next week has prompted demands for authorities to intervene amid fears of a repeat of the shocking violence that marred a Dublin demonstration.
The calls came as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris admitted he was taken aback by the level of vitriol and violence to which Gardaí were subjected during the Dublin city centre protest.
Commissioner Harris also said he expects further such demonstrations to be attempted over the weeks ahead.
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Fireworks and glass bottles were used as weapons against Gardaí attending the mass demonstration in Dublin.© Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images Members of Garda (Irish Police) clash with protesters during Anti-Lockdown protest on Grafton Street in Dublin city center during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, Fabruary 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Three Gardaí were injured and a total of 13 people were subsequently charged with public order offences.
Those charged range from 19 years to 59 years.
Now, a Government TD has demanded that a Cork protest – being organised by online groups – be immediately banned to avoid any threat of a repeat of similar scenes.
Details of the protest remain unclear but it is understood it was being planned for Cork city centre next Saturday. Cork authorities are attempting to clarify details of the proposed demonstration with the only details being circulated via social media.© Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images Fine Gael’s Neale Richmond speaking speaking to the media as ballot papers are counted at the RDS in Dublin during the Irish General Election. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
The city has already witnessed a number of small demonstrations against Covid-19 controls and the use of vaccines.
A number of leaflet drops have also taken place by conspiracy groups pursuing bizarre theories about the pandemic.
Dublin Rathdown TD Neale Richmond said the authorities need to act immediately to ensure there is no repeat of the disgraceful scenes in Dublin city centre.
“Yesterday was a dark day in our capital as violent thugs brought shame to the streets of Dublin attacking our Gardaí physically and verbally,” he said.© Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images Members of Garda blocking Grafton Street exit during the beginning of Anti-Lockdown protest during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, Fabruary 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“Dangerous conspiracy theorists preyed on the genuine frustrations of many to recklessly bring hundreds of people out in protest against necessary public health measures aimed to fuel the spread of a killer virus.
“It is clear that subversive elements used the opportunity presented by this protest to spread their far-right propaganda, dangerous anti-science rhetoric and ultimately attack our Gardaí.
“Those who may be frustrated by the ongoing restrictions and considering attending protests must be aware of who the nefarious groups behind them actually are.
“The consequences for attending protests can be damaging not just because they are super spreader events but because they can quickly descend into illegal chaos.© Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images Hundreds of Anti-Lockdown protesters seen during a march-protest on O’Connell Street, Dublin, during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, February 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)The new Microsoft Edge
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“With 23 people arrested and a number of gardaí in hospital, it is crucial that any other protests like this are not allowed to happen.
“Already we can see online that another dangerous group has planned a protest for Cork next week.
“Quite simply this protest must be stopped and the organisers held to account for such reckless measures,” he said.
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