Sit-down water protest causes traffic chaos in Dublin
Breakaway protest blocks O’Connell Bridge
Gardaí clear protestors from O’Connell Bridge in Dublin last night. Photograph: Dave Meehan
As the main anti-water charge protest was coming to an end in Dublin’s south inner city last evening, smaller groups of breakaway protesters were causing traffic chaos across the city.
Just after 2pm members of a group marching from the Garden of Remembrance in the north inner city, down O’Connell Street and on towards the main protest site at Merrion Square across the Liffey decided to stage a sit-down protest.
They blocked O’Connell Bridge in all directions in an action that forced the closure of O’Connell Street and large stretches of the north and south quays, with some of those involved using camping chairs.
The protesters stayed in situ for hours and made the usual busy Dublin evening rush-hour traffic even more chaotic due to the road closures and diversions that resulted from their actions. However, senior Garda officers believed the group was trying to provoke a reaction from the force and they decided against deploying the public order unit to clear the junctions.
While the number of protesters on O’Connell Bridge and at some points along the quays gradually reduced in the afternoon and into last evening, a small group was still staging its sit-down protest late last night with gardaí continuing to stand off from it. The area was eventually cleared before 9pm.
Ongoing demonstrations at the junction of Kildare Street and Nassau Street also caused gardaí to cut off traffic beyond Dawson Street long after the main Right2Water rally was over.
Some bus and Luas services had also been affected.