25 February 2006

Republicans clash with gardaí at 'Love Ulster' parade


25/02/2006 - 13:33:05

Hundreds of republican demonstrators clashed with riot police in central Dublin today in a bid to block a parade by the Orange Order and victims of IRA violence.

About a dozen fireworks, metal barricades, bottles and stones were thrown at Gardai as loyalist marchers gathered 100 yards away.

Two gardaí sustained head injuries as fireworks exploded.

Dozens of extra gardaí in full riot gear were called in to try to quell the disturbances.

A line of about 40 riot police blocked the entrance to O'Connell Street as hundreds of youths pelted them with rocks, bottles and sticks.

The officers slowly moved in to disperse the rioting crowds.

Rubble and barricades from construction work on O'Connell Street were set on fire as riot police forced the crowd further into the city centre.

Republican slogans were chanted and around 20 protesters attempted to hold a sit-down protest in the middle of the street.

Gardaí quickly moved in and prevented the youths from blocking the road.

At the front of the GPO, the headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising, rioters charged police and fought hand-to-hand battles with around 100 officers.

Mounted police were also drafted in to prevent more protesters joining.

A stand-off ensued for several minutes as dozens of the demonstrators again attempted to hold a sit-down protest.

All shops, in one of the city's busiest shopping districts, shut their doors for business.

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