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Protesters clash during rally against free speech legislation

It is understood that supporters of the Irish Freedom Party were taking part in the demonstration.

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Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he wanted to strengthen hate speech legislation (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he wanted to strengthen hate speech legislation (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he wanted to strengthen hate speech legislation (Brian Lawless/PA)

A number of protesters have clashed during a rally against free speech legislation in Dublin.

Demonstrators from rival sides were forced apart by gardai as the rally took place outside Leinster House on Saturday.

It is understood that supporters of the Irish Freedom Party were taking part in the demonstration.

A number of people were waving Irish flags and holding placards stating “free speech is a human right”.

Videos posted on social media show clashes with a number of counter-protesters who were holding a rally.

Gardai were forced to push the counter-protesters back as they attempted to move towards those taking part in the free speech rally.

In a statement, gardai said: “Gardai attended the scene of a demonstration which took place this afternoon in Dublin city centre.

“It is not known currently if any incidents had taken place or any arrests have been made in relation to this demonstration.”

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he wanted to strengthen hate speech legislation.

A public consultation was launched last year in a bid to update Ireland’s law on hate speech.

PA