On Thursday evening, Dublin witnessed the most serious riots in years, which erupted after a few hours earlier an unknown man with a knife attacked three small children and a woman in front of a school. Police arrested 34 people and accused “a far-right faction of lunatics” of inciting protests and violence.
Knife attacker attacked children in front of school
The incident, which caused outrage and tension among society, took place around 3:00 pm in front of Gaelscoil Cholaiste Mhuire school in central Dublin. Witnesses testified that a 50-year-old man with a knife in his hand suddenly threw himself at a group of children who were just leaving school. The victims of the attack were two girls – five and six years old – and a five-year-old boy. The attacker also wounded a woman over 30 years old who intervened to protect the children.
The perpetrator was stopped by a Brazilian immigrant who delivered food from Deliveroo. He used his motorcycle helmet to hit the knife man and force him to drop the knife. Then other passers-by helped him subdue the attacker and hand him over to the police, who arrived at the scene a few minutes later.
Five people – three children, a woman and the perpetrator – were taken to hospital. The five-year-old girl and the woman are in serious condition, while the other victims have injuries that are not life-threatening.
Clashes with police on the streets
The knife attack sparked a wave of protests and violence among Dublin residents. Many people considered it an act of terrorism or racism, although the police did not confirm such motives. Rumors and speculations about the perpetrator’s nationality and religion began to circulate on the internet, fueling tension and hatred.
Around 8:00 pm on O’Connell Street – the main shopping street in Dublin – a crowd of about 200 people gathered, who began to demand justice and express their dissatisfaction with the government’s immigration policy. The protesters had banners with slogans such as “Irish lives matter” or “Stop the invasion”. Some of them were masked and armed with clubs, stones and firecrackers.
The demonstration quickly turned into a clash with the police, who tried to disperse the crowd and ensure public order. The rioters threw bottles, stones and firecrackers at the officers, set fire to a police car, several buses and a tram. They also demolished shop windows and other elements of urban infrastructure. They chanted anti-immigrant slogans and insulted the police.
The riots, which were the most serious in years in the Irish capital, lasted until late at night. The police reported that despite the violent nature of the riots, no one was seriously injured.
On Friday morning, the police announced that they had arrested 34 participants in the evening riots. One of the policemen was seriously injured during the riots. The police expect further protests on the streets.
Police Commissioner Drew Harris stated that the riots were the responsibility of “a hooligan faction of lunatics, driven by a far-right ideology”. He stressed that “the facts are being established, but many rumors are still unclear, and insinuations are being spread for bad purposes”. He also appealed not to speculate on the perpetrator’s nationality and not to succumb to rumors circulating on the internet, which automatically suggested that the perpetrator was not of Irish origin.