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The Irish authorities have denounced the violent riots in Dublin’s downtown area following a stabbing incident that harmed a woman and three young kids, labelling it as “unnecessary brutality.”
Furious spontaneous demonstrations erupted following the attack on a school on Parnell Square East in the inner city on Thursday afternoon. The situation escalated into a night of chaos as buses, trams, and a Garda vehicle were set on fire, and a shop was looted on O’Connell Street, one of Dublin’s well-known streets.
During the protest, there were conflicts with law enforcement when certain protesters ignited flares and fireworks. Other protesters also threw chairs and stools taken from nearby bars and restaurants.
A barricade was established by the police around Leinster House, the Irish parliament building, on Thursday evening. Officers from the Garda Mounted Support Unit were also present on Grafton Street, as there were fears that the unrest could reach Ireland’s democratic headquarters.
Gardai reported that the city had returned to a state of calm just before midnight.
The disorder was attributed by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to a radical group fueled by far-right beliefs.
The problem occurred following alarming events during the midday hours on Thursday, in which three children and their caretaker were stabbed near the Irish language primary school, Gaelscoil Cholaiste Mhuire.
A young girl, aged five, received urgent medical care for severe wounds.
The woman sustained severe injuries, while the five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl sustained relatively minor injuries.
Police reported that an individual who suffered severe injuries at the location is a subject of interest in their inquiry.
At first, the police stated that they were content with the fact that there was no connection to terrorism in the stabbings. However, during a press conference later in the day, Mr. Harris hesitated to completely dismiss the possibility of a terrorist intention.
He stated that he has not disregarded any potential reason for the attack and all possible leads are being considered in order to determine the motive behind it.
Over 400 police officers were engaged in attempts to suppress the following night of chaos on nearby streets.
Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin of the Garda stated that several members of the police have been subject to attacks and physical violence.
According to him, both the police and citizens have not reported any major injuries.
Mr. McMenamin expressed that the police service’s thoughts were with the victims of the assault that occurred in Parnell Square earlier in the day.
When discussing the disturbance, he stated that it was not at all related to a severe attack that took place earlier in the day on Parnell Square. He described it as senseless violence.
The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, expressed his concern for those who were harmed in the stabbing.
He stated: “The terrible event should be handled by the police and it is shameful that certain groups would exploit it to attack the idea of social inclusion. This should be condemned by anyone who believes in upholding the law and democracy.”
The Irish Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, condemned the chaotic events as “unacceptable” and stated that a “violent and deceitful group” should not be permitted to exploit a tragic incident to cause chaos.
She stated, “We will not accept a few individuals exploiting a terrible event to promote discord.”
Earlier, Irish leaders Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin expressed their condolences to those harmed in the stabbing incident.
A team of Garda officers trained in handling public disorder was dispatched to the vicinity of Parnell Square and O’Connell Street at approximately 6:30pm. This was in response to scuffles breaking out between protesters and officers, and the throwing of flares and fireworks at the Garda cordon.
As tensions rose, a Garda vehicle was ignited, a Luas tram and multiple buses on O’Connell Street were engulfed in flames, and a bus and car were set ablaze on O’Connell Bridge.
During the disturbance, individuals stole items from a Foot Locker shop located on O’Connell Street while also throwing bottles at police officers on the well-known street.
During a series of planned actions, the police dispersed a significant number of people from the crowd onto adjacent streets.
The atmosphere was clouded with smoke from burning buses and cars, as a Garda helicopter observed from above.
The Dublin Fire Brigade attended to the fires that occurred.
On Thursday evening, Commissioner Harris addressed the media at Mountjoy Garda Station and urged for peace while denouncing the dissemination of false information.
He stated that some people were exploiting a tragic incident for their own personal gain, along with a group of hooligans who are solely focused on causing chaos and destruction in the city center. They are taking advantage of the situation for their own purposes.
He expressed concern over the chaotic situation surrounding the important investigation, preservation of the scene, and collection of evidence.
We have a group of extremist hooligans who are driven by far-right beliefs, and in addition, there is a disruptive element engaging in severe acts of violence.