Police Arrest 34 in Dublin Riot Following School Stabbing

Lily Zhou
By Lily Zhou
November 24, 2023Europe
Police Arrest 34 in Dublin Riot Following School Stabbing
A bus on fire on O'Connell Street after violent scenes unfolded in Dublin city center, on Nov. 23, 2023, following a knife attack. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

Irish police arrested 34 people on Thursday in a riot that erupted hours after a school stabbing which injured three children and a woman, leaving a five-year-old girl in critical condition.

Hooligans seriously injured one police officer, damaged 11 police cars and 13 shops were either looted or significantly damaged during the evening, according to Garda (Police) Commissioner Drew Harris. A Luas tram and some buses were also set alight.

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said the damage is likely to be “in the tens of millions.”

The riot came hours after three school children and a school care assistant were stabbed near the Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire primary school, allegedly by an immigrant, shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

As of Friday morning, one girl, five, remained in critical condition, and a six-year-old girl was being treated for “less serious injuries” at the Crumlin Children’s hospital. A five-year-old boy has been discharged from the same hospital on Thursday night.

The female school assistant, who’s in her 30s, remained in a “serious condition” on Friday morning in the Mater Hospital.

The main suspect, a man in his 50s, also remained in a serious condition in a Dublin hospital.

There is no official confirmation of the nationality of the suspect. The Irish Times said it’s understood he’s a naturalized Irish citizen, who has lived in the country for 20 years.

The suspect was subdued by a number of passers-by, including a Deliveroo driver who is a Brazilian immigrant.

Following rumours that the suspect is an immigrant, protesters and hooligans gathered in Dublin city centre on Thursday evening.

Rioters threw bottles and other objects at police officers, smashed shop windows, and set fire to cars, buses, and a Luas tram.

video circulated on social media appears to show dozens of men chasing someone, with people shouting, “kill him,” “take his shirt off.”

Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin said the riot was “gratuitous thuggery,” saying the violence “had nothing whatsoever to do” with the stabbing in the afternoon.

Commissioner Harris told a press conference on Friday that there was an “element of radicalisation.”

The taoiseach told reporters at Dublin Castle that the city had witnessed “two terrible attacks” on Thursday, each bringing “shame to our society.”

“The first was an attack on innocent children, the second an attack on our society and the rule of law,” Mr. Varadkar said.

“Each attack brought shame to our society and disgrace to those involved and incredible pain to those caught up in the violence. As Taoiseach, I want to say to a nation that is unsettled and afraid, this is not who we are, this is not where we want to be, and this is not who we will ever be,” he added.

Asked about the extent of damage done during the riot, Mr. Varadkar said, “We don’t have a figure on it yet, but it’s likely to be in the tens of millions, rather than the millions.”

Members of the public who intervened to stop the attacker have been hailed as heroes , including Deliveroo driver Caio Benicio. He was on his motorbike working when he saw the attack unfolding and stopped to help.

Eyewitness Siobhan Kearney told The Irish Times a number of people attacked the suspect while she and “an American girl formed a ring around the culprit and so the Garda could deal with him in due course.”

The incidents came a week after Slovak national Jozef Puska, 33, was jailed for the murder of 23-year-old teacher and musician Ashling Murphy, who was jogging when she was stabbed by Puska.

Several anti-immigration protests have flared up in the past months in Ireland over an influx of refugees.

According to data released by the Department of Justice, 13,319 people applied for asylum in Ireland in 2022, the highest in 20 years.

Amid an ongoing housing shortage, the government has resorted to housing some asylum seekers in hotels or tents and floated the idea of putting them on floating hotels and ships.

Earlier this year, tents were burned in a makeshift refugee camp in Dublin city centre following a tense standoff between anti-immigration protestors and those supporting asylum seekers.

At around the time, claims circulated on social media said a Zimbabwean man wanted by Interpol for three murders had fled to Dublin and claimed asylum.

According to The Sun, the man, Peter Dube, who applied for asylum using an alias, Xolile Mtsali, was arrested in Ireland in June.

From The Epoch Times

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