Simon Harris has condemned the “pure thuggery” gardaí faced at an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin city centre today as fireworks and other objects were thrown at officers.
The Minister for Higher Education said: “Pure thuggery on the streets of Dublin today. It’s not a 'protest'. It’s an attack on our national effort. The abuse directed at the Gardai is sickening & shameful. Disgraceful. Thoughts with the Gardai and their families.”
Pure thuggery on the streets of Dublin today. It’s not a “protest”. It’s an attack on our national effort. The abuse directed at the Gardai is sickening & shameful. Disgraceful. Thoughts with the Gardai and their families
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) February 27, 2021
Protesters clashed with gardaí as they marched up Grafton Street towards St Stephen's Green, which had been closed by gardaí in advance of the 2pm protest.
A number of the protesters were arrested with the crowd largely dispersed by 4pm.
A heavy garda presence is still in the city centre.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond slammed the violent scenes.
“From the outset, this protest was ill-advised, fuelled by conspiracy theories and championed by individuals seeking to manipulate the genuine fears of many vulnerable individuals,” he said.
“It was disgraceful to see this protest descend into violent scenes with brave members of An Garda Siochana subjected to intolerable physical and verbal abuse.
“Some of the eyewitness footage circulating is extremely disturbing and every public representative should condemn these awful scenes.
“The footage appears to show a lit firework being thrown at members of the gardai by one protester, which is truly shameful.
“These brave men and women risk their lives every day in the service of the people of our State and what they were subjected to today is utterly appalling.”
A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said: “A number of traffic diversions and other policing measures are currently in place in Dublin this afternoon, Saturday 27th February 2021 in response to a demonstration in the city centre area.
“A policing plan has been implemented and An Garda Siochana will provide a full update when this operation has concluded.”