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Riots in Dublin after stabbings injure children
Published on: Saturday, November 25, 2023
By: AFP
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Riots in Dublin after stabbings injure children
Flames rise from a car and a bus, set alight at the junction of Bachelors Walk and the O’Connell Bridge, in Dublin after the stabbing that social media rumours attributed to a foreign national.
DUBLIN: Protesters fought running battles with police, torched vehicles and looted shops in Dublin, after three young children were injured in a knife attack outside a school.

Police in riot gear stood guard on the streets in the Irish capital as crowds taunted them with chants and set off fireworks.

Near O’Connell Bridge, over the River Liffey, flames rose from a torched car and bus, while crowds broke into stores and looted one of the city’s main shopping streets.

The unrest—the worst in Dublin in years—came after a five-year-old girl sustained serious injuries in a suspected stabbing in Parnell Square East, north central Dublin.

Two other children and two adults—a woman and the suspected perpetrator of the attack—were taken to hospital after the incident around 1:30 pm (1330 GMT).

Rumours on social media about the nationality of the assailant, who police only described as a man in his fifties, helped fuel unrest following the attack.

Police chief Drew Harris blamed a “complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology” and warned against “misinformation”.

Some protesters carried signs reading “Irish Lives Matter” and waved Irish flags through a neighbourhood home to a large immigrant community.

One protester told AFP that “Irish people are being attacked by these scum.”

Ireland has been facing a chronic housing crisis, with the government estimating that there is a deficit of hundreds of thousands of homes for the general population.

Widespread dissatisfaction has fed into a backlash against asylum seekers and refugees, and far-right figures have promoted anti-immigration sentiment at rallies and on social media with claims that “Ireland is full”.

By late evening, Police Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said calm had been restored and no serious injuries were reported.

“It was gratuitous thuggery,” he said.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the scenes in the city centre, including attacks on police, “cannot and will not be tolerated” and promised to take action.

“A thuggish and manipulative element must not be allowed to use an appalling tragedy to wreak havoc,” she said, calling for calm.

Thursday’s incident, which police said was not thought to be terror-related, involved a man armed with a knife stabbing victims outside the school, according to media and eyewitnesses.

Witnesses described how a man had been disarmed, and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a suspect had been arrested.

Superintendent Liam Geraghty later told media that “a young girl aged five years has sustained serious injuries” and was receiving emergency medical treatment.

A five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl sustained less serious wounds and the boy had since been discharged, he added.

The woman was being treated for serious injuries in hospital, while the man, said to be in his 50s, was a “person of interest” for police, revealed Geraghty. 

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