Irish police on Friday said they had made 34 arrests for rioting in Dublin overnight and that more protests could follow after the stabbing of five people including three young children triggered violence rarely seen before in the capital.
Police guarded looted stores and firefighters cooled down smoldering vehicles in the heart of Dublin’s city center early on Friday after hours of riots which Police Commissioner Drew Harris said he expected to lead to many more arrests.
“Those involved brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told a news conference.
A five-year-old girl remained in a critical condition on Friday following emergency treatment on serious injuries sustained in the stabbing.
Police have not commented on the nationality of a man detained in connection with the stabbings but there was immediate speculation online that he was foreign.
Police blamed far-right agitators for starting the violence after a small group of anti-immigrant protesters arrived at the scene of the stabbing beside the main thoroughfare of O’Connell Street and clashed with police.
According to Reuters, Varadkar said his government would take immediate steps to tighten anti-hate legislation he said was unfit for the social media age.
”As a country we need to reclaim Ireland. We need to take it away from the cowerers who hide behind masks and try to terrify us with their violence,” Varadkar said.
“We need to reclaim Ireland from the unscrupulous who prey on the fears of those easily led into darkness. And we need to reclaim Ireland from the criminals who seek any excuse to unleash horror on our streets,” he said in an emotional statement.