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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# Dublin
Dozens of protesters and gardaí enter Bank of Ireland College Green after anti-austerity march
The protest ended peacefully and there were no arrests.

Updated 5.23pm

12 water protest Leah Farrell Protestors leaving the Bank of Ireland on College Green this evening. Leah Farrell

A PROTEST THAT closed the Bank of Ireland on College Green in Dublin has concluded after more than 20 protesters left the building at around 4pm.

The protesters were part of a wider anti-austerity march that had made its way from the GPO to Dame Street.

An eyewitness told that as the protest made its way up Westmoreland Street from the Garden of Remembrance, a group of “around 100 people broke off” and began protesting outside the landmark College Green bank.

Gardaí closed Dame Street and most of the protesters marched back towards the GPO. There were five garda vans present at the scene as well as a patrol car.

As they were outside the Bank of Ireland, a smaller group of around 25 protesters entered the bank followed by gardaí. Among them were prominent anti-water-charge activists Derek Byrne and Bernie Hughes.

Gardaí then blocked the entrance to the bank and it was closed to customers. A van full of gardaí from the garda public order unit then arrived at the scene and they entered the bank. Two more vans full of gardaí from the public order gardaí entered later.

There were about 40 activists in the courtyard outside the bank as the protesters were inside. Gardaí then closed the gates of the courtyard, allowing people to leave but preventing more protesters from filling the courtyard.

Protesters in the courtyard informed protesters from the main march what was happening and many returned to the gates outside the College Green bank. They blocked Dame Street outside the bank.

10 water protest Leah Farrell Marchers who returned to the bank forced gardaí to close Dame Street. Leah Farrell

Over the course of the next 30 minutes a number of the protesters who’d entered the bank began to leave peacefully.

They said their actions were about making a point about austerity and the complicity of financial institutions in removing people from their homes.

9019 Protests Sam Boal Members of the garda public order unit. Sam Boal

Shortly before 4pm, the remainder of the protesters left the bank in a larger group to cheers from the marchers outside. The activists stayed courtyard for 10 minutes chanting and shouting into a megaphone.

At this point, there were at least 50 gardaí in the bank’s courtyard and they began to move the protesters from the bank’s grounds.

On the street outside at Dame Street, protesters then began standing on front of garda vans, blocking them and causing severe traffic disruption.

Gardaí say no arrests were made during the incident.

After deciding to move, the protesters then marched to a number of other buildings in the city, including the Brown Thomas store on Grafton Street and an AIB Bank.

Read: Homeless families occupy show house in west Dublin >

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