Crime: “Brought shame on Ireland”: riots shake Dublin

“Brought shame on Ireland”: riots shake Dublin

Riots break out after a knife attack in Dublin. photo

© Brian Lawless/PA Wire/dpa

Ireland’s police chief said something like this hadn’t been seen in decades, blaming right-wing extremists for the riots. The reason was probably a knife attack on children and rampant speculation on the Internet.

A tram burnt out. Shop window smashed. Several stores looted. In the Irish capital There were riots in Dublin on Friday night – more than 30 people were arrested. “These are scenes the likes of which we have not seen in decades,” said Police Chief Drew Harris the morning after.

The riots broke out after an attacker attacked three children and a teacher on Thursday afternoon, in some cases seriously injuring them. A five-year-old girl and the woman were taken to hospital with serious injuries. Two other children suffered minor injuries. The approximately 50-year-old suspect was also injured – he was overpowered by passers-by and held until the police arrived. According to investigators, the motive for the crime was initially unclear.

Social media speculation

According to police, the riots began from a crowd that had gathered around the crime scene tape after the crime. According to police reports, the riots were partly motivated by right-wing extremists after there was speculation on social media about the nationality of the alleged perpetrator. Police Chief Harris spoke specifically about right-wing extremist hooligans.

The police initially did not provide any information about the man’s nationality and referred to the ongoing investigation. Justice Minister Helen McEntee told RTÉ that a violent mob had aimed to wreak havoc. Order was restored at midnight.

Chaotic scenes in Dublin

Pictures show the charred framework of a tram and smashed windows; workers swept up debris on Friday morning. According to the police, eleven emergency vehicles and several buses were damaged. Thirteen stores were attacked or looted – sports stores in particular were targeted, according to the police chief.

Some rioters fired fireworks or threw chairs and stools from bars and restaurants, the British news agency PA reported. Several officers were injured. The police arrested 34 people.

Head of government: Rioters are not patriots

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar condemned the riots. According to him, around 500 people took part and around 400 police officers were on duty. “Those who were involved have brought shame on Dublin,” Varadkar said. They would have brought shame on Ireland, their families and themselves.

“These criminals didn’t do what they did because they love Ireland,” he continued. “They didn’t do this out of any sense of patriotism.” They did it because they were filled with hatred, because they loved violence and chaos.

According to Police Chief Harris, social media contributed to the escalation of the situation following the knife attack. You see an element of radicalization there, few facts are taken and a lot of assumptions are made from them.

Police chief defends actions

Harris defended the work of his emergency services. When asked whether the police had failed, he replied that they could not have predicted that this would be the response to a terrible crime. “No one could have predicted this.” After the escalation, he called on people to go back into the city and to work. “We cannot allow the city to be abandoned to thugs and looters and arsonists.”

The police also continued their investigation into the knife attack. Prime Minister Varadkar described the passers-by who stood up to the attacker as heroes. A man reportedly used his motorcycle helmet to hit the attacker. No other suspects were initially sought.

The motive for the knife attack was still unclear, Harris emphasized to journalists. Nothing can be ruled out. The statements of a police spokesman had previously given the impression that a terrorist background was unlikely.


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