Dublin protest: Seven charged, 13 remanded in custody as major investigation launched

ireland
Dublin Protest: Seven Charged, 13 Remanded In Custody As Major Investigation Launched
Protesters clashing with Gardai during an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city centre.
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Gardaí are continuing to question people arrested in connection with an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin on Saturday.

Last night, 13 people appeared before a special sitting of the Criminal Court of Justice in connection with the protest, charged with various public order offences.

The charges included threatening or abusive words or behaviour, failing to comply with the direction from Gardaí, resisting arrest and failing to provide the correct name and address to officers.

Over 20 people were arrested in following yesterday's protest, with three gardaí reportedly being injured.

Seven people who were arrested were charged with offences and released on station bail, while three juveniles have also been released for consideration of inclusion in the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

The 13 people who appeared in court last night have been remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill District Court at a later date.

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An incident room has been set up at Pearse Street Station in the city centre to handle the investigations.

Public appetite

The Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris said the protest was a move by organisers to test the public appetite for more of the same, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the rally "showed a complete lack of respect" to the public's sacrifices during the pandemic.

Officers were spat on and pelted with fireworks and glass bottles as they tried to disperse crowds numbering in the hundreds from the Grafton Street area, actions which Mr Martin labelled "thuggish".

Commissioner Harris said the force intends to make further arrests as part of a major criminal investigation.

"We do know of other plans that [protest organisers] have, and I think this was in part to test what the support might be for such protest activity," Commissioner Harris said.

"We are very much on our guard about what's going to happen next, but what we are going to do is follow through with a major investigation.

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"There's plenty of individuals who have committed offences, who we will seek and bring to justice," he added.

In a statement today, the Garda Commissioner clarified earlier remarks, saying the "vast majority of those who took part belong to a number of factions including anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-lockdown protestors, far right groups, and those intent on trouble and disorder".

"Despite initial indications, following further investigation, there is no corroborated evidence of extreme left factions being involved," he said.

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has also condemned yesterday's violence, saying the vast majority of people at the protest were there to cause harm and disruption.

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