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Anti-lockdown protest Gardai baton charge protestors as hundreds gather on Grafton St in Dublin

Gardai remained in position until bottles, fireworks, cans and bottles and other items began to be thrown at them.


Trouble flared at an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin's city centre this afternoon with Gardai forced to baton charge crowds who had gathered at St Stephen’s Green.

There was a tense atmosphere as Gardai formed ranks at the top of Grafton Street to stop protesters from gaining entry to St Stephen's Green park, which the Office of Public Works had closed on instructions from An Garda Síochána.

Hundreds of people gathered for today's protest.

Some protestors gathered in front of Garda lines taunting them and shouting “You should be ashamed of yourselves” and “Why don't you do the Jerusalema dance?"

Some other men shouted abuse at the Gardai and warned them to be careful.

“What are you going to do?", they shouted at the Gardai.

Gardai remained in position until bottles, fireworks, cans and bottles and other items began to be thrown at them.

At a signal from senior Gardai, officers rushed forward with batons raised while shouting, ‘get back, get back’ as the crowd was forced back down Grafton Street.

Dogs from the Garda dog unit accompanied officers as they charged down Dublin’s main shopping street.

One man appeared to have been arrested as he was dragged from the crowd by Gardai and back towards the Garda vehicles parked at the top of Grafton street.

One man who did not want to give his name, said he had attended the protest as the lockdown had affected him personally.

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Anti-Lockdown protesters and gardai outside St. Stephens Green

Anti-Lockdown protesters and gardai outside St. Stephens Green

Anti-Lockdown protesters and gardai outside St. Stephens Green

“My mental health has suffered (because of lockdown),” he said. “I wanted to join in but I’m disappointed with the bangers and that. I wanted the protest to be more peaceful.”

The Garda helicopter hovered above the scene as the crowd reassembled further down Grafton Street,

There, on Chatham Street, a massive crowd gathered again and cheered as one young man scrambled up on top of a tree and waved a tricolour to cheers.

Garda said today that a number of traffic diversions and other policing measures are currently in place in Dublin this afternoon in response to a demonstration in the city centre area.

“A policing plan has been implemented and An Garda Síochána will provide a full update when this operation has concluded,” Gardai said.

Dublin TD Neale Richmond slammed the protestors who “took to the streets of Dublin today in an action that led to violent scenes”.

He tweeted: “Absolutely shocking scenes from the so-called patriots in our capital today. How is the below a constitutional right? #COVID19."

The deputy added: “From the outset, this protest was ill-advised, fuelled by conspiracy theories and championed by individuals seeking to manipulate the genuine fears of many vulnerable individuals.

“It was disgraceful to see this protest descend into violent scenes with brave members of An Garda Siochána subjected to intolerable physical and verbal abuse.

“Some of the eye witness footage circulating is extremely disturbing and every public representative should condemn these awful scenes.

“The footage appears to show a lit firework being thrown at members of the gardai by one protestor, which is truly shameful.

“These brave men and women risk their lives every day in the service of the people of our State and what they were subjected to today is utterly appalling.

“Those who organised this protest need to be held account for their actions.

“At a time of a global pandemic with so many people working tirelessly to suppress this awful and deadly disease, these antics were reprehensible."

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