Gardaí warn of potential for 'crush' in Dublin at school students' climate strike on eve of election

Gardaí warn of potential for 'crush' in Dublin at school students' climate strike on eve of election
A previous climate strike in Dublin last September

Gardaí have warned secondary school students that a planned climate protest in Dublin city centre tomorrow "could cause a crush" if it goes ahead.

Up to 1,000 teenagers are expected to march from College Green to Leinster House demanding more action on environmental issues.

However, the organisers have been told the route is too dangerous and that teachers could face criminal proceedings if the march gets out of hand.

The group, FridaysForFuture, had contacted gardaí about their climate strike demonstration asking for assistance.

However, gardaí got back to them to say the location of their meeting point, Grafton Street, would not be able to facilitate the numbers anticipated "along with the level of footfall in that area particularly at lunchtime and will case crushing in the area".

They said: "The planned route is highly dangerous and is not recommended, the age dynamics of the participants taking part has to be factored in and based on previous protests the lack of supervision of the school kids both primary and secondary has a lot to be desired."

    The gardaí then listed what protestors were allowed to do in the previous protests;

  • Climb scaffolding towers
  • Climb Luas power cable poles
  • Walk out in front of buses(Kids from primary school placed in front of a coach to stop it moving)

They added: "When Teachers were asked to stop the kids from doing this, Gardaí where informed that they had their own minds and they couldn’t do anything to stop this.

"There is a duty of care on people who bring kids and young adults into a protest in town having taken the them out of school to look after them and ensure they are safe which is not the case previously.

"On the last occasion a location for the protest had been agreed by the organisers in consultation with the Gardaí, the supervisors allowed the students to be infiltrated by an outside organisation which could have had serious consequences had the Gardaí not intervened.

Given the level of risk, the age dynamics of the group, the unwillingness of the Teachers to co-operate, the lack of trained stewards, this protest cannot be facilitated by An Garda Síochána in its current format.

Liam Herrick from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, is concerned about the Garda approach, and said the protest should be allowed to go ahead.

Mr Herrick said: "I think the farmers' protest recently is a very strong ecxample of the Guards going to very great lengths to facilitate a protest which did cause a great deal of inconvenience.

"On that basis, it is difficult from our point, and on the information we have, to see why it should not be possible to facilitate this demonstration."

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