Three gardaí injured, one hospitalised after anti-lockdown protest in Dublin
23 arrests were made after attempts were made to move the protestors on.
An Garda Síochána has released a statement following the disturbances stemming from an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city centre this afternoon.
Three members of the force were injured - with one requiring hospitalisation - following clashes between the gardaí and members of a group that were protesting the current Covid-19 lockdown measures.
'An Garda Síochána put in place a policing operation in relation to gatherings planned on social media by disparate groups to take place in Dublin City Centre,' the Garda press release begins. 'In support of this operation a number of public spaces in the city centre were closed to prevent any gatherings taking place.
'From approximately 1:30pm,' the release continues, 'persons commenced to assemble in the Grafton Street area in breach of Public Health Regulations.
'An Garda Síochána has been consistent in our graduated policing response (engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce) to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with our tradition of policing by consent. Garda members engaged with the gathered individuals over a considerable period of time.
'Following continued and orchestrated non-compliance with Public Health Regulations and failing to comply with directions from An Garda Síochána, the gathering became violent on occasions with members of An Garda Síochána targeted with fireworks, missiles and spit.
'Gardaí were forced to intervene. 23 persons have been arrested under Public Order Legislation. Three Garda personnel were injured during the incident. One required hospital treatment for his injuries.'
'The policing operation initially involved approximately 125 members of An Garda Síochána, Uniformed Personnel, Plain clothes, Public Order Units, Garda Mounted Unit and Garda Dog Unit,' the statement concludes. 'During the course of the operation further resources were redeployed from across the DMR region in support.
'The arrested persons were transported to City Centre Garda stations. A special Sitting of Dublin District Court will take place this evening in the Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street at 8pm where a number of the arrested persons will be charged.'
Speaking this evening Commissioner Drew Harris stated, "An Garda Síochána have made 23 arrests so far in relation to the disturbances in Dublin City centre today. A major investigation is now underway to seek and bring to justice those that have committed offences today. Gardaí have also noted a number of individuals outside their home without a legitimate excuse.
"This was a protest that sits outside the normal behaviours of our society. These are not mainstream groups, the great majority of our society are compliant with the regulations and are living within these regulations in order to suppress COVID-19.
"An Garda Síochána responded in a professional manner today which resulted in calm returning to the city centre. We will maintain an active presence in the City tonight to ensure that the City Centre remains safe and secure tonight."