Friday, May 24, 2024

Six arrests in Ireland during protest against asylum seeker housing

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Six people have been arrested during a protest at a site earmarked to house asylum seekers in Ireland.

Gardai said officers came under attack after workers were brought onto the site in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, yesterday.

They suffered “verbal and physical abuse throughout the day, which escalated into rocks and other missiles being thrown this evening”, Gardaí said.

Fires were lit and an axe was found during the incident.

Officers were “forced to defend themselves” with incapacitant spray, helmets and shields.

Three patrol cars were also damaged.

Videos posted on social media show scuffles between officers and members of the public.

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Irish broadcaster RTE said protesters accused gardaí of using unnecessary force, and intimidating and aggressive tactics against a legitimate and peaceful protest.

According to RTE, there have been protests for the past six weeks at the site, known as Trudder House or River Lodge.

It is reportedly being considered as a site for 20 eight-person tents housing asylum seekers but some locals have said it is unsuitable and the village’s resources are already over-stretched.

Earlier this month, a small fire was lit on the site, which gardaí are still investigating.

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A spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána respects the right for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights; this right does not extend to breaches of criminal law, the interference with the rights of other citizens to carry out their daily activities, or to attack members of An Garda Síochána.

“Any Garda activity in relation to evolving events involves a graduated policing response taking into account relevant legislation and public safety, with enforcement as a last resort.

“An Garda Síochána is also aware of misinformation and disinformation being spread in relation to this ongoing incident.”

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