There were tense scenes outside a Dublin Garda station last night as a crowd estimated at more than 200 people clashed with gardaí following the arrest of three anti-water protesters earlier in the day.
Footage recorded by members of the crowd and posted online showed gardaí holding up pepper spray cannisters as they stood in front of members of the public. Many comments on social media claimed gardaí used the spray and questioned the tactics adopted by officers. A spokesman for the force would give no indication as to whether the spray was deployed. There were also reports that bricks were thrown by a small number of people among the crowd.
Some protesters could be heard chanting “shame on you” and “peaceful protest” at the gardaí. Others hurled abuse at officers, one shouting “you will get your jaw broken, you messer” while another called officers “fucking scumbags”.
The crowd had begun to gather at the station at around 5pm. A Garda spokesman confirmed that earlier in the day, three people were arrested under the Road Traffic Act after they tried to obstruct the Taoiseach’s car as he attended an event in Santry. The spokesman said protesters appeared to follow when those detained were brought to Coolock garda station.
Those arrested were released from the station later in the evening.
Both while they were detained and after they were released anti-water charge supporters posted urgent messages calling for others to “mobilise” to Coolock and, as the crowd built up, gardaí were forced to close off the roads around the Garda station.
After about four hours, the stand-off began to wind down, and those protesters who remained in front of the Garda station stood together chanting anti-water slogans.
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