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Scuffles break out as anti-Islamisation group Pegida launches in Dublin

Published 06/02/2016

Gardai policing a counter-protest against Pegida on O'Connell Street
Gardai policing a counter-protest against Pegida on O'Connell Street

Scuffles broke out in central Dublin at the launch of the anti-Islamisation group Pegida.

Hundreds of campaigners, from a number of grassroots groups, came out in protest.

Dublin City Councillor Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party tweeted of a "strong security presence" and some protesters pursued several men they believed to be Pegida members from O'Connell Street down onto North Earl Street.

The streets were particularly busy. Worried families, including children who were in the city for a Chinese New Year festival, and sports fans who had arrived for the Ireland and Wales RBS 6 Nations rugby match, saw the commotion unfold.

Pegida's Dublin launch was among a series of Europe-wide demonstrations against the growth of Islam in Europe.

Banners declaring Love Not Hate and No To Islamophobia No To Pegida were held by protesters who came from different backgrounds.

Organisations such as People Before Profit, the Workers Solidarity Movement and Irish Muslim organisations were among the demonstrators.

Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan told an anti-racism rally on O'Connell Street: " We are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity to show that there is no place in Ireland for racism and Islamophobia.

"There is no place in Ireland for hate.

"We are a welcoming nation because we are no strangers to migration."

Pegida UK supporters, on a march near Birmingham, were seen holding banners featuring the smiling face of controversial US presidential hopeful Donald Trump and the words Trump Is Right.

Tommy Robinson, a Pegida UK organiser and the ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), told Sky News that monthly protests would be held in the West Midlands this year as a round 200 gathered for today's event.

He said: "Europeans are going to take to the streets in mass numbers opposing what is happening to their country, opposing because they don't feel safe ... I want to be the man that orchestrates it here."

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