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Gardaí use batons and handcuffs to quell anti-lockdown protest in Dublin

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Nine people arrested following clashes between gardaí and anti-lockdown protesters in Dublin on Thursday afternoon have been charged with public order offences.

In total 11 arrests were made during an incident in which a number of gardaí used batons to overpower protesters before pinning them on the ground and handcuffing them.

The garda operation was intended to ensure Grafton Street was not occupied for a sit-down or run-through protest as had been the case almost three weeks ago.

Of those arrested nine were men, and the ages ranged from 20 to 60 years. The nine charged were released on bail to appear before the district court next month. The other two received adult cautions.

On Thursday night gardaí said they were now investigating the organisers of the protest and that the guidance of the Director of Public Prosecutions would be sought in respect of any further actions.

There was a large Garda presence on Grafton Street. Photograph: Stephen Collins
There was a large Garda presence on Grafton Street. Photograph: Stephen Collins

Rally

A large rally had been planned for Custom House Quay, though both the Yellow Vest group and Health Ireland decided to withdraw from the gathering.

However, more than 100 protesters gathered in the city centre and held a sit-down protest on O’Connell Bridge for a period.

They then marched towards the convention centre on Spencer Dock in the IFSC in an apparent effort to hold a rally outside, as Dáil Éireann has sat there. However, gardaí blocked off the approaches to the centre. When they found their way impeded, the group staged a sit-down protest around the Guild Street area.

After a time there they left and marched towards East Wall before turning back towards the city centre to Grafton Street.

Vans on street

Before the protest crowd arrived on Grafton Street, gardaí had deployed a large number of personnel there, including uniformed gardaí, some in plain clothes and gardaí on bicycles.

A large number of Garda vans had also been driven on to the street and were parked there. This was done to prevent a repeat of a sit-down protest that occurred at the start of October.

When the protesters found a heavy Garda presence at both ends of the street, some burst through the Garda cordon before making their way to the side streets and congregating on Lemon Street.

They were initially blocked by gardaí and parked Garda vans, but the group burst through and on to Grafton Street when they saw a woman being arrested who was screaming loudly as she was led away.

Once the crowd broke through on to Grafton Street, a large number of them clashed with gardaí, some of whom drew their batons. As some protesters were pinned to the ground and arrested, other gardaí warned the remaining protesters to stay away.

The clashes were brief but involved a relatively large number of protesters and gardaí, although the arrested suspects were taken away and order was restored relatively quickly.

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