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Lord Mayor of Dublin urges people not to attend George Floyd protests

Tom Brabazon urged people to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by signing an online book of condolence.

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People attended a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Tuesday (Niall Carson/PA)

People attended a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Tuesday (Niall Carson/PA)

People attended a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Tuesday (Niall Carson/PA)

The Lord Mayor of Dublin has urged people not to join anti-racism protests in the city on Saturday in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

A socially-distanced protest is due to go ahead outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Floyd was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the city of Minneapolis.

He died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck, sparking days of protest.

What happened to George Floyd disgusts and repulses everybody in this country and people across the worldSimon Harris

Gardai have warned protest organisers that mass demonstrations are in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, urged people to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by signing an online book of condolence.

Mr Brabazon told Newstalk FM that protest organisers will not be able to control every individual who attends.

He said: “I understand why people were angry and I understand the need to protest but we are in the middle of a pandemic and I would urge people to look at alternatives in terms of getting their message across.

“One of those ways is the online book of condolence that was opened up by Dublin City Council.

“And while a lot of the individuals will be responsible and try to socially distance, it is not always going to be possible with those numbers involved.

“They really need to take a second look at having this protest and look at other alternatives. I would plead with them to do so.”

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan also urged people not to attend.

“I wouldn’t want to take anything away from either people’s right to protest or understanding of the motivation behind it, so it’s not a comment on any of that, but we think now is not the time to be arranging mass gatherings or events that have the potential to become mass gatherings,” he told the daily Covid-19 media briefing.

“And we’d have a message first of all for those who are organising to not organise those kinds of events, because of the risk of them becoming mass gatherings and becoming a challenge in terms of social distancing.

“And for people who would be intending to visit them to stay away and we were clear about that (earlier in week) and that would still be the advice.”

Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, Health Minister Simon Harris urged people not to put themselves and others at risk by attending protests.

He said: “What happened to George Floyd disgusts and repulses everybody in this country and people across the world.

“But at the same time, any gathering, no matter how worthy the cause, is a danger to public health at the moment and we do have to be conscious of that.”

PA