A group of 100 protestors clashed with Gardai as they made their way the gates of the Dublin parliament earlier this [Monday] afternoon, following a protest against the government’s handling of the economy.
Some members of the group, led by Sinn Fein TD Aengus O Snodaigh entered the Merrion Street gates of government buildings.
A number of the protestors, including Mr O Snodaigh -- the TD for Dublin South Central -- were pushed and punched by members of the Garda police.
The group were calling for the immediate resignation of the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, following yesterday’s announcement that the 26-County government had been forced to seek emergency bailout funding from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Amid the fracas, Mr O Snodaigh, who was attempting to calm the situation, was among those assaulted before an impromptu sit-down protest eventually saw tensions dissipate.
There were also scenes of anger at the Dublin parliament last [Sunday] night during a protest involving Dublin Sinn Fein members in conjunction with local Ogra [Sinn Fein Youth] members.
A contingent of Sinn Fein and Ogra activists had gathered with other members of the public outside government buildings following news of the request by the Fianna Fail/Green Government for a European and IMF bailout.
Eventually, government ministers were driven to the gates when Sinn Fein and Ogra activists staged a peaceful sit-down protest.
A number of Gardai employed brutal tactics in an effort to move the protestors, while another Garda motioned for the state cars to continue on their path, with one state car, believed to be that of a Senior Minister, running over the leg of a young Ogra Shinn Fein activist
An ambulance quickly arrived and the Ogra member was brought to hospital.
Ogra Shinn Fein spokesperson Daithi Byrne criticized both the Government and the Gardai who interfered with the peaceful sit-down protest.
“Today’s developments has created huge anger in this country. We have, effectively, been bought and sold. The government has ran up the white flag of surrender to the IMF/EU who are notorious for their utter contempt for the rights of working class people. Already, within hours, the government is dancing to their tune, with rumours of cuts to the minimum wage and social welfare. Surely we cant be blamed in that context for protesting?’
“The Gardai dealt with the peaceful protest irresponsibly today. The heavy handed tactics employed effectively resulted in a hit and run incident which seen a dedicated Ogra Shinn Fein activist sustain an injury. The events today, couple with those which took place at the recent national student march, demonstrate the widespread anger but also the low tolerance for peaceful protest.”