Watch: Heated scenes as hundreds attend protest at asylum seeker encampment in Dublin

Hundreds gathered on Sandwith Street Upper in the heart of Dublin city yesterday evening in what amounted to a face off between a crowd, which appeared to be mainly composed of local residents, and left-wing counter-protestors.

There were also a large number of young children and teenagers in attendance.

Approximately 30 members of An Garda Síochána were at the scene where a large number of officers formed a line separating the two groups for the duration of the event. 

There were heated scenes as counter-protestors – who had gathered at the entrance to a makeshift encampment which in recent days has reportedly been occupied by asylum seekers – chanted slogans including “Fascist scum off our streets,” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” and, “Vote for people, not for profit,”

Left-wing counter-protestors behind the Garda line

Demonstrators returned shouts of, “Pedos out,”, “You’ll never beat the Irish,” and “Get them out,” 

Although there were some heated exchanges between protestors and Gardaí the event passed off peacefully. 

A small group of women who identified themselves as local to the area told Gript that they were afraid for the safety of women and children in the area saying that Gardaí had previously seized at least one bladed weapon from residents of the encampment. 

One woman said she found the situation “frightening as a woman” especially after dark.  Another expressed her frustration at what she described as ‘migrants coming into Ireland demanding to be housed’ saying that her own children are ‘on the housing list for years’. She said her 22 year old daughter who has a 4 year old child was living with her and sharing a room with another sibling. 

The protest, which lasted for somewhere in the region of three hours, remained largely peaceful with Gardaí saying that they “engaged with those present and one male (30s) was later arrested under the Public Order Act”. The man has “since been charged to appear before Dublin District Court later this month.” The Gardaí also confirmed to Gript that no injuries were reported. 

As the counter-protestors attempted to leave the scene those gathered on the opposite side of the garda line prevented them from doing so for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 

Gript made numerous attempts to ask the retreating protestors if they were local to the area, however all but one, who said she did not currently live in the area, declined to comment. 

The woman said that she felt that Ireland “was generally a place of a thousand welcomes and that we could extend ourselves to people in general,” 

Asked if she understood the concerns of people living in the area she said she “absolutely” did and that more needed to be done when “welcoming people into the country,” adding that the “issues” of locals also needed to be addressed. 

During our attempts to interview the counter-protestors one young man warned other not to engage with us saying we were “fash” 

Sometime after the protestors dispersed Gript was made aware that the laneway where the asylum seeker encampment was situated had caught fire. 

A Garda spokesperson said that, “As the groups involved dispersed some furniture and wooden pallets were set alight in a nearby lane way,”

As the counter-protestors protests left the area, a number of them were followed by what appeared to be a group of counter protestors and were filmed entering the grounds of Trinity College. 


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