Dublin, Ireland – Violent clashes erupted in the heart of Dublin on Thursday evening, following a knife attack earlier in the day that left a 5-year-old girl seriously injured and hospitalized a woman and two other young children. The girl was receiving emergency medical treatment at a Dublin hospital, prompting at least 100 people to take to the streets in protest.
The unrest saw vehicles set on fire, riot police attacked, and public property damaged. Over 400 police officers, many in riot gear, were deployed in the city center to contain the violence, which authorities attributed to a “small group of thugs.” The Irish Parliament building, Leinster House, was cordoned off, and the Mounted Support Unit was present in nearby Grafton Street.
Clashes with riot police ensued as demonstrators set off flares and fireworks, vandalized public spaces, and looted a Foot Locker store. Public transport services were suspended, and many businesses urged their employees to work from home on Friday.
“We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology, and also then this disruptive tendency engaged in serious violence,” said Ireland’s top police officer, Drew Harris.
Amidst the chaos, police and politicians called for calm and cautioned against misinformation about the attack. The injured man in his 50s, who is considered a “person of interest” in the investigation, has not had his identity disclosed. Additionally, authorities did not rule out a potential terrorist motive for the attack.
The violent scenes unfolded after a knife attack on Parnell Square East shortly after 1:30 p.m., resulting in a woman in her 30s sustaining serious injuries and two other children sustaining less serious injuries. While the attack appears to be an isolated incident, police are working to identify the exact motive behind it.
As details of the attack continue to unfold, Irish authorities are urging the public to remain vigilant and are commending those who intervened to disarm the assailant. The investigation remains ongoing as the community grapples with the aftermath of the disturbing events in Dublin’s city center.