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Anti-lockdown protest in Dublin City Center: Justice Minister with stern warning to attackers

DUBLIN: Minister for Justice Helen McEnte has warned that stern action will be taken against those involved in violent incidents, such as those that took place over the weekend in Dublin City Center.

“We’re all frustrated with Covid-19, I’m frustrated, you’re frustrated. However, we are not taking to the streets, and attacking members of An Garda Síochána who are doing everything to keep us safe. What happened yesterday was gardaí were intentionally targeted and hurt.” This could not be justified or accepted, Minister Helen McEnte said.

“This was not an essential journey for anybody,” McEntee said. “This was an illegal gathering.” The investigation into this is ongoing. Minister also said that a number of fixed penalty notices have already been issued.

Minister Helen McEntee said the government will consider implementing legislation to regulate the spread of misinformation online. McEntee said that “we need to really look at the type of information and misinformation and disinformation that has been put out there”. The main challenge in dealing with misinformation online is the speed that it is shared with, she said.

“There’s a number of things I think we need to look at – firstly, how do we work with the social media companies to make sure that information that is incorrect is taken down,” she said.

“My own part is working with the gardaí to make sure that they have the legislation or that they have the means to infiltrate or to essentially identify this type of activity that’s happening online that is spreading hate and spreading division,” she said.

“We need to make sure that those who are responsible for spreading this type of hate -and it is hate – disinformation, and encouraging this type of violence on our streets, putting people at risk, that they’re not allowed to do so and that these platforms don’t give them an opportunity to do that,” the Minister added.  

There was also an attempt to deliberately attack gardai during the anti-lockdown protest in Dublin City Center. Specialist officers were deployed to assist gardai in preventing the violence, yet the gardai struggled to control the situation.

23 people involved in the violence have been arrested. Thirteen of them later charged at a special sitting of Dublin District Court. Gardai revealed that about 500 people took part in the protest.

Three gardai were injured in the attack. One person was seriously injured and is being treated at a hospital.

The protest was violent from the beginning. An Garda Síochána detailed that gardai were targeted with fireworks, missiles, and spit.

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