Crowds march through Dublin city centre against division, inequality and war

Demonstration saw chants and placards in support of migrants, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities, Travellers and Palestinians

Daniel did not travel to Dublin city centre on Saturday intending to participate in a march, yet found himself among thousands doing so.

“I’m from Ireland, I was born and raised here. I can sympathise a lot with Irish people and what they’re going through, but also at the same time, I feel like we’re kind of the scapegoat for it,” he said. Standing on D’Olier Street, he was holding a placard despite being an onlooker on O’Connell Street minutes prior.

His mother immigrated to Ireland from Nigeria and has worked as a carer since, he said, adding that she has never received recognition for her contribution to Irish society.

“It’s a really unfortunate situation and I don’t like the way people are acting towards foreigners,” he said, adding: “It feels like we’re being disrespected when really we’re underrated.”


Daniel, who did not wish to give his surname, was one of several passersby to join the large march on Saturday afternoon against racism, hatred and war.

Organised by cross-sectoral alliance Le Chéile, the march was backed by more than 130 national and local community groups, civil society and non-governmental organisations, trade unions and political parties. It saw thousands march from Parnell Square through the city centre to Merrion Square Park.

The rain which kicked in as they passed College Green did nothing to dampen chants, flares and placards in support of migrants, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities, Travellers and Palestinians.

The march caused significant traffic disruptions, while a large number of gardaí were present at all times.

Heavily on the agenda of Saturday’s march was the ongoing war in Gaza, with marchers chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. Some placards called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich.

Among those attending was Baraa Albayari who is currently trying to raise funds to help his mother, two sisters, three brothers and their children to escape the conflict in Gaza.

He arrived in Ireland on December 20th and has slept in a tent, primarily outside the GPO, since then, despite ongoing medical issues, he said.

His uncle, father and several cousins have been killed in air strikes since November while his grandmother passed away from a heart attack days after his father was killed.

His mental health has been “destroyed” since arriving in Ireland, while his contact with his mother and siblings is limited.

He is one of 1,103 international protection applicants currently without State-provided accommodation.

Co-founder of the Movement of Asylum Seekers, Lucky Khambule said newly-arriving asylum seekers are facing “the most terrible experience” and are left vulnerable, unsafe and subject to intimidation.

“They’re fearing for their lives,” he said adding: “A guy from Afghanistan said to me that he feels like an insect, that he is treated like an insect.

“When we see the crowds of people today who came only for one thing and one thing only – sharing love with us and solidarity – that restores our hope in terms of how the Irish people see the migrants in this country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Colette O’Regan from Cork attended on behalf of LGBT Ireland, saying the LGBT community has become a target of hate by “some sinister actors in real life and very much online”.

“This is not something that just happened in November in the Dublin riots, we’ve been telling the Government that this is a problem,” she said.

Several Dominican nuns, including Mary Daly and Veronica McCabe, attended to stand up against injustice in all its forms, they said, adding that the current division in society is “critical”.

“We have differences but we’re human beings and we want justice for all. We must work together,” said Ms Daly.

Among those who addressed the crowd was Bernard Joyce of the Irish Traveller Movement.

He described the treatment of Travellers in Ireland as “systematic institutional racism”.

He said there should be leadership, an action plan and the passing of proposed legislation against the incitement of violence or hatred.

“Today, over 2,000 Traveller families continue to live in inadequate, unsafe conditions, the lack of basic amenities, running water and proper sanitation. This reality underscores the urgent need for change today,” he said.

Also among those who spoke from the platform was Aisling Hedderman who works with the Community Action Tenants Union.

“Our flag is becoming ever more divided. The right-wing agitators pushing right-wing political narrative ... use our flag when spreading their hate and division, well we have something to say. This is our flag, the flag of the Irish nation has always been and will always be a symbol of solidarity. Wherever there is struggle or injustice in the world, you will see this flag.” – Additional reporting PA