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Dublin on alert after riots that

Peter Murphy Agence France-Presse For several hours Thursday evening, Nearly 500 rioters set fire to vehicles, looted and vandalized businesses and clashed with police in a neighborhood in central Dublin where many immigrants live.

Peter Murphy – Agence France-Presse and Joe Jackson – Agence France-Presse in Dublin

8:48 p.m.

  • Europe

The city of Dublin was under high police surveillance Friday evening, with a few rare incidents the day after far-right riots which broke out after a knife attack and brought “shame to Ireland”, according to its Prime Minister.

A handful of people were arrested in the city center of the Irish capital early in the evening, noted an AFP journalist, to whom the police indicated that they did not expect “serious incidents”.

“The center of Dublin is open normally” she wanted to reassure on X (ex-Twitter) earlier in the afternoon, with a “reinforced law enforcement plan” and the deployment two water cannons as a precaution.

For several hours Thursday evening, nearly 500 rioters burned vehicles, looted and vandalized businesses and clashed with police, in a neighborhood in central Dublin where many immigrants live.


This violence broke out after a man armed with a knife attacked several people early in the afternoon near a school in Dublin, leaving four injured, a teacher and three children.

A five-year-old girl years old was “in critical condition” on Friday. The teacher is in “serious condition,” according to police.

Also injured, the attacker was subdued and arrested on the spot, thanks in particular to the intervention of a Brazilian delivery man and a 17-year-old Frenchman. According to the daily Irish Times, it is a man who has been naturalized and has lived in Ireland for 20 years.

The police blamed this “ extraordinary explosion of violence” to the far right, evoking rumors spread on social networks about the attacker's origins, in a context of increasing anti-immigration discourse.

New scenes

The rioters “claim to be defending Irish nationals”, but “they are putting shame on Dublin, shame on Ireland”, lambasted Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, adding that the damage caused to public infrastructure would cost “tens of millions of euros.”

The Irish police, who spoke of scenes not seen “for decades”, announced that they had arrested 34 people. A curfew was imposed on some of them, according to Irish media.

After initially saying they were “convinced that there was no terrorist link”, the police were more cautious about the motivations of the attacker, aged around fifty.

On Friday evening, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the officers had “a defined line of inquiry”, without specifying its nature, and that no one else was being sought at this stage.

She also announced that a bill on video surveillance, which should notably allow police officers to use pedestrian cameras, would be subject to accelerated examination.

Given what she called “catastrophic operational failures”, the leader of the main opposition party Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, on Friday called for the resignation of the Minister of Justice as well as the head of the Irish police, but Helen McEntee s is refused.

Rumors on the networks

In the hours following the attack on Thursday, several anti-immigration accounts circulated on X the rumor that the attacker was an “illegal immigrant” or an “Algerian national”, with hashtags like #Irelandisfull (“The Ireland is full”) and #IrelandBelongsToTheIrish (“Ireland belongs to the Irish”).

“As soon as news of the attack broke, the far right organized itself” on social networks, and “calls to gather in the city center were launched – notably on Telegram and Twitter – by known figures”, underlined Aoife Gallagher, of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London.

Spurred by a housing crisis, an anti-immigration discourse has developed in recent years in Ireland. In recent months, several demonstrations have taken place against accommodation projects for asylum seekers.

According to official figures, the number of asylum applications will increase more than fivefold in 2022 by report to 2021 in Ireland.

“The majority of Irish people welcome immigrants […] but in the last two or three years, a far-right movement that uses social media to spread disinformation and fear about them has emerged,” Anne Holohan, associate professor at Trinity College Dublin, told AFP.

The anti-racism association INAR castigated “manipulators and opportunists” who “profit of this difficult period” to “sow chaos”.

With Clara Lalanne in London

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116