Le Chéile calls for action against far-right after anti-lockdown demonstration

On Saturday, February 27, hundreds of people took part in an anti-lockdown demonstration that ended in violent clashes with Gardaí on Grafton Street.


Cross-sectoral alliance Le Chéile spoke out against the “ugly face of the far-right” following a violent anti-lockdown demonstration in Dublin. 

Over the weekend, violence broke out on Grafton Street, Dublin, as anti-lockdown groups clashed with Gardaí. Hundreds of people marched through the city centre towards St Stephen’s Green park, however the Office of Public Works closed the gates to the public.

Video footage from the demonstration showed rioters hurling cans and fireworks at Gardaí members while authorities pushed back against the crowd with batons. After receiving widespread backlash over claims the gathering was due to far-right and far-left groups, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has clarified that “despite initial indications, following further investigations, there is no corroborated evidence of extreme left factions being involved.”

“The vast majority of those who took part belong to a number of factions including anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-lockdown far-right, far right groups, and those intent on trouble and disorder,” the Garda Commissioner continued. 

According to reports, three Gardaí were injured during the clash at the demonstration and one has been hospitalised. Authorities made a total of 23 arrests so far, 13 people are due to appear before Dublin District Court charged with public order offences.

Following the anti-lockdown demonstration, Le Chéile has called for renewed action towards fighting back against far-right movements. In a released statement, they wrote, “The scenes on Grafton Street show the ugly face of the far-right in Ireland. They have been seeking to capitalise on the frustration felt by many with the government’s Covid strategy. They aim to turn discontent about lockdowns into an organised and violent far-right.”

Le Chéile further spoke of the need for rethinking responses to far-right groups, commenting on authorities’ use of violence against those gathering on Grafton Street and what this could mean in the future. They write, “The growth of the far-right will be stopped by an organised anti-fascist movement including trade unionists and activists against oppression. We fear that any normalisation of the indiscriminate use of batons by Gardaí could mean them being turned against peaceful protests in the future.”

Regarding a unified response to opposition, Le Chéile are organising a public meeting titled, ‘They shall not pass’: the global struggle against the far right today, at 7pm on Monday, March 1. The Eventbrite page shared, “Join us to hear about the challenges and successes of activist movements who have challenged the far-right across the world!”

Speakers at the public meeting includes Chair of Le Chéile, Ailbhe Smyth; Strajk Deputy Editor, Malgorzata Kulbaczeweska; Black Lives Matter activist and Community Organiser in Minneapolis, Robin Wonsley; KEERFA coordinator, Petros Constantinou and TD Bríd Smith. On Twitter, one person spoke about the event, “An international perspective on the rise of the far right and how it can be combatted at tonight’s public meeting. Come along!”

Smyth further spoke on the importance of the public meeting following the anti-lockdown demonstration, “Looking forward to chairing Le Chéile event tomorrow. After yesterday’s vicious, ugly protest, it couldn’t be more relevant.”

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.