Irish police make 34 arrests after Dublin rioting

Irish police on Friday said they had made 34 arrests for rioting in Dublin overnight.
Irish police make 34 arrests after Dublin rioting

Riot police stands next to a burning police vehicle, near the scene of a suspected stabbing that left few children injured in Dublin, Ireland, November 23.

Irish police on Friday said they had made 34 arrests for rioting in Dublin overnight and that more protests could follow after the stabbing of five people including three young children triggered violence rarely seen before in the capital.

Police guarded looted stores and firefighters cooled down smouldering vehicles in the heart of Dublin's city centre early on Friday after hours of riots which Police Commissioner Drew Harris said he expected to lead to many more arrests.

"Those involved brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves," Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told a news conference.

A five-year-old girl remained in a critical condition on Friday following emergency treatment on serious injuries sustained in the stabbing.

Police have not commented on the nationality of a man detained in connection with the stabbings but there was immediate speculation online that he was foreign.

Police blamed far-right agitators for starting the violence after a small group of anti-immigrant protesters arrived at the scene of the stabbing beside the main thoroughfare of O'Connell Street and clashed with police.

Varadkar said his government would take immediate steps to tighten anti-hate legislation he said was unfit for the social media age.

"As a country we need to reclaim Ireland. We need to take it away from the cowerers who hide behind masks and try to terrify us with their violence," Varadkar said.

"We need to reclaim Ireland from the unscrupulous who prey on the fears of those easily led into darkness. And we need to reclaim Ireland from the criminals who seek any excuse to unleash horror on our streets," he said in an emotional statement.

The attack was condemned across all political parties, including the main opposition Sinn Fein.

Harris told a news conference the scenes in the city were unprecedented, adding that there would be a very heavy police presence on Friday.

"I think that we've seen an element of radicalisation. We have seen a group of people who take literally a thimble full of facts and make a bathtub of hateful assumptions and then conduct themselves in a way which is riotous and disruptive to our society."

It took officers several hours to regain control after a group of local youths joined the protesters, some of whom were shouting "get them out", with one carrying a sign saying "Irish Lives Matter". The crowd grew to about 200 to 300 people.

People were urged to stay away from large parts of the city during the height of the violence. Harris said 13 shops were damaged or looted, 11 police cars damaged and destroyed along with three buses and a tram. One officer was seriously injured.

Dublin Fire Brigade said it continued to damp down a smouldering tram on O'Connell Street on Friday morning. Public transport resumed, but with restrictions in the area.

Barricades were up across some shopping streets where Black Friday sales were due to take place. Police stood guard outside a Foot Locker store with broken windows that was looted during the riot. The front of a Holiday Inn hotel was boarded up.

"We don't know if this will happen again tonight. Right now we are feeling worried," said Hassan Alia, a Foot Locker security guard standing outside the shuttered store who was also working on Thursday night.

Members of the public intervened at an early stage of the attack, including a Brazilian Deliveroo driver who told the Journal website that he knocked the assailant to the ground by striking him with his helmet.

Harris said the injured girl remained in a very serious condition with a female teacher in her 30s also in a serious condition. The two other children, a five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl, suffered less serious injuries.

The detained man in his late 40s, also being treated for serious injuries, was detained by police who said they were not looking for any other suspect. Harris said police had not ruled out any motive, including whether it could be terrorism-related.

There are no far-right parties elected to Ireland's parliament, but small anti-immigrant protests have grown in the last year. The government is reviewing security around parliament after a recent protest trapped lawmakers inside.

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