Protest against pandemic measures gathers outside Áras an Uachtaráin

President urged by protesters not to sign legislation allowing return of indoor dining

The protest outside Áras an Uachtaráin. Photograph: Collins

Hundreds of people gathered outside Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday evening to protest against the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Protesters congregated at 7pm carrying Tricolours, American flags and placards calling on President Michael D Higgins not to sign legislation passed by TDs on Wednesday to allow for the reopening of indoor dining.

It follows a protest outside the Convention Centre in Dublin on Wednesday night where a woman in her 30s was arrested and charged with public order-related offences.

People of all age groups attended the protest, though the majority were young people, most of whom did not wear face masks or obey social-distancing regulations.

A protest outside Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday evening. Photograph: Collins
An anti-vaccine placard in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Collins

Some protesters played musical instruments while others chanted slogans, or held placards bearing phrases including, “We do not comply”.

A woman who attended on Thursday evening said she felt the Government’s plan to allow only vaccinated people to dine indoors was “discriminatory” and “draconian”.

Tinfoil hat

One speaker compared lockdown restrictions to “imprisonment and dictatorship”, saying that she would be “proud to wear a tinfoil hat” – a reference to those who had labelled her a conspiracy theorist over the past 15 months.

Meanwhile, another woman handed out leaflets to people in the crowd that featured anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown messaging.

Others held placards comparing Covid-19 vaccine passports to “medical apartheid” and a group of young men held a sign that read, “My body, my choice” in reference to the 2018 abortion referendum.

A man at the park said there were “no organisers” of Thursday evening’s protest but that people had come together due to posts on social media websites such as Twitter.

A public order unit and several gardaí patrolled the area.

There were no arrests made, though gardaí said they were aware of a protest taking place in the Phoenix Park and the situation was "being monitored".