Protesters ‘intimidating’ President outside his home, councillor says

ireland
Protesters ‘Intimidating’ President Outside His Home, Councillor Says
Members of the public attend a protest outside Aras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park on Thursday night. Photo: Collins.
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Protesters who gathered outside the residence of the President in Phoenix Park could be construed as “intimidating”, a Dublin City Councillor has said.

Mannix Flynn criticised the group which gathered near Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday evening to protest Covid-19 measures and call on President Michael D Higgins not to sign indoor dining legislation.

The legislation will allow only those with immunity to Covid-19 through vaccination or a recent infection to dine indoors.

“The president will scrutinise this document and if there is anything untoward about this document, may not sign it,” Mr Flynn said.

“But to simply have a large crowd outside of his residence, what without wearing masks, simply behaving in an inappropriate manner with no regard whatsoever for those around them, other park users, and then forming a protest that could be construed as intimidating – I think it’s actually unacceptable.”

'Tinfoil hat'

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Hundreds of people gathered outside Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday evening to protest against public health measures and the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to The Irish Times.

The protesters congregated at 7pm carrying Tricolours, American flags and placards calling on the President not to sign the dining legislation passed by TDs on Wednesday.

People of all age groups attended the protest, though the majority were young people, most of whom did not wear face masks or obey social-distancing regulations.

One speaker compared lockdown restrictions to “imprisonment and dictatorship”, saying that she would be “proud to wear a tinfoil hat” – a reference to those who had labelled her a conspiracy theorist over the past 15 months.

Meanwhile, another woman handed out leaflets to people in the crowd that featured anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown messaging.

Others held placards comparing Covid-19 vaccine passports to “medical apartheid” and a group of young men held a sign that read, “My body, my choice” in reference to the 2018 abortion referendum.

A public order unit and several gardaí patrolled the area. There were no arrests made, though gardaí said they were aware of a protest taking place in the Phoenix Park and the situation was “being monitored”.

It follows a protest outside the Convention Centre in Dublin on Wednesday night where a woman in her 30s was arrested and charged with public order-related offences.

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