Dublin migrant camp damaged by fire amidst anti-refugee protests
Anti and Pro refugee groups had faced off outside the camp just hours earlier.
A makeshift refugee camp in Dublin's south inner city was destroyed by a fire on Friday night, following large-scale demonstrations between both anti and pro refugee groups.
The fire, which occurred in a laneway off Upper Sandwith Street, was attended to by both the Dublin Fire Brigade and An Garda Síochána.
Gardaí had previously been at the scene just hours earlier, marshalling the rivalling groups of protesters who had descended upon the camp.
The end result of the destruction of the asylum seekers encampment tonight in Sandwith Street, Dublin 2. pic.twitter.com/IE2Lr4Mios
— Ireland against Fascism (@IrlagainstFash) May 12, 2023
Video footage posted to social media highlights the extent of the damage caused by the fire, with the images appearing to show the wholesale destruction of the refugees' encampment.
The laneway is situated between a block of dilapidated flats and boarded-up homes, and had become a place of refuge in recent weeks for those asylum seekers impacted by the capital's long-standing housing crisis.
Similar protests to last night's scenes had occurred on Thursday also, with the camp seemingly becoming the focal point of the growing anti-immigrant sentiment present in Dublin's inner city.
The protests saw the deployment of both uniformed Gardaí and members of the public order unit, as the opposing demonstrators attempted to drown out the chants of one another.
Appearing to be mostly men and with many covering their faces, the anti-refugee protesters stood close to the Gardaí's separation line, before tensions ultimately began to simmer down when the pro-refugee group was shepherded onto Pearse Street.
An Garda Síochána have since announced that investigations are underway regarding the violent nature of the protests, with footage emerging of a man swinging a pole at camp members in an incident which saw at least two people sustain injuries.
"Gardaí are aware of footage being circulated on social media which occurred in the Sandwith Street area and investigation into this incident is being carried out", a statement read.
The migrant camp itself had been set up initially during the May bank holiday weekend, and housed roughly 10 refugees, with its' residents moving to the quiet laneway over safety concerns.
Local Fianna Fáil representative Elizabeth Wilson stated that the situation was a "complex" one and that the local community was "concerned" about the violent events.
Meanwhile, Independent councillor Mannix Flynn called for "balance", adding that those living within the encampment needed to be "protected".
*Feature Image courtesy of Sam Boal - Rolling News.
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