Anti-lockdown demonstrations pass peacefully in Cork, gardaí confirm six arrests

ireland
Anti-Lockdown Demonstrations Pass Peacefully In Cork, Gardaí Confirm Six Arrests Anti-Lockdown Demonstrations Pass Peacefully In Cork, Gardaí Confirm Six Arrests
People take part in a demonstration against lockdown restrictions organised by the People's Convention in Cork. Photo: PA Images.
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Reporting by Press Association

An anti-lockdown demonstration in Cork has passed off peacefully, a week after a protest in Dublin ended in violence.

Gardaí confirmed six arrests have been made over the course of the day. Two men were arrested in Cork city, while three men and one woman were arrested under Operation Fanacht, the ongoing national operation in support of current travel restrictions.

The four arrests under Operation Fanacht were made in Kildare, Kerry and Cork.

A statement from gardaí confirmed over 200 members of the gardaí were involved in today's policing operation, while some shops choosing to board up their windows in anticipation of large crowds on Patrick Street.

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According to the Irish Examiner, at least 450 people attended the gathering despite being urged to remain at home, with many not wearing masks.

Spokespeople for the organisers, the People's Convention, reminded the crowd the gathering was a peaceful event, and anyone intent on causing trouble should leave.

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Checkpoints were carried out by gardaí on routes to Cork and the People's Convention have claimed some who had been planning to attend the demonstration were turned back.

The city’s Lord Mayor Joe Kavanagh and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cork South Central TD Simon Coveney earlier pleaded for the event to be called off.

Speeches were heard by participants carrying banners, some of which read 'Tell the Truth' and 'Freedom Not Tyranny', with the demonstrations ending with the singing of Amhrán na bhFiann.

The policing plan implemented today was described as a “showcase” of how gardaí will deal with an expected mass protest in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day.

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Earlier, garda sources said there was enough gardaí on duty to “nip anything in the bud”.

The garda policing plan was understood to involve an arrest policy for people travelling further than five kilometres for the event who refused to return home.

Sources stressed that gardaí did not want to deploy in full riot gear with shields and helmets due to the possibility that families will be attending the protest, but were ready to do so if needed.

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