WATCH: Coolock immigration protest prevented by “wall of Gardai”

A protest against the government’s handling of the immigration crisis was prevented from proceeding to a busy traffic junction in Coolock by what one woman described as a “wall of Gardai” who refused to allow the protesters to pass.

The ‘Coolock Says No’ group told says that it was holding a now-weekly protest which was attended yesterday “mostly by women and girls who are concerned about  the placement of unvetted male migrants into the area” and that people had gathered at the shopping area in Priorswood before setting off at 6pm towards the traffic junction.

However, on the way down the Clonshaugh Road, the protest found that the road was blocked by Garda vans, squad cars and a solid line of Gardai accompanied by the Public Order Unit.

Local woman, Joan Mulligan, said that they were refused leave to pass what she described as “a wall of Gardai blocking the whole road”.

“They were two deep with large Garda vans and squad cars,” she said, “out to stop a peaceful protest. That’s just not right.”

Videos show members of an Garda Síochána refusing to allow the protesters pass, saying it was “not safe” to allow the protest down to the junction where the intention was to stop traffic.



The tactic of stopping traffic to highlight opposition to the opening of migrant centres without consulting locals was was pioneered in East Wall and has since spread throughout Dublin as increasing numbers of people take to the streets.

Ms Mulligan said that the protest was entirely peaceful and that Irish people had a right to “peaceful assembly.” She said that it was “rubbish” to claim that the protest was “unsafe”.

She said that political backing for a hard policing line against the protests might have led to the decision to block the protesters’ way last night.

“It’s as if they were instructed to say this to us,” she told Gript. “I feel like its coming from the top, like they want to stop the protests being effective.”

Government spokespersons, including an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, have tried to characterise the protests as being exploited by the ‘far-right’, a charge strongly denied by the protesters.

Polling for the Sunday Independent last weekend showed that a majority of people were unhappy with the government’s handling of the crisis – and did not believe that the protests were a reflection of a ‘far-right’ mindset.

Ms Mulligan said that local people were angry at the arrogance of politicians who wanted working-class areas to bear the burden of allowing uncontrolled migration and lax border controls.

“We know that thousands of people are coming here without passports, and then being put into areas like Coolock which are already struggling,” she said. “We don’t even know who these people are. That’s why there are so many women on these protests, we’re angry because we’re being ignored, our concerns about our safety are being ignored, our concerns about housing and services – already impossible to get – are ignored.”

“Our protests aren’t political, they are grassroots, and they politicians don’t know how to control it,” Ms Mulligan said.

She said that protesters held a peaceful protest outside the Garda Station to show that they were unhappy with the move to block protests.

An Garda Síochána said that they policed a protest that took place on the Clonshaugh Road, last night, Thursday 9th February.

No incidents were reported and no arrests were made, they said.

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