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Gardaí to investigate potential breaches of Covid regulations at Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dublin

Thousands of people took to the streets yesterday afternoon.

Image: PA

GARDAÍ HAVE SAID they will be investigating all the circumstances surrounding the Black Lives Matter demonstration which took place in Dublin at the weekend in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital yesterday afternoon to voice their anger at the death of black man, George Floyd, who died after being pinned down by Minneapolis police officers in the US last week. 

Gardaí said that while organisers had tried to enforce social distancing guidelines, this was not adhered to. Other regulations, including travelling more than 5km from a place of residence, may also have been breached, gardaí said. 

A statement released to TheJournal.ie said that the organisers of the event had pro-actively engaged with gardaí during the demonstration and informed officers that the size of the event had far exceeded their expectations. 

An Garda Síochána said it has no role “permitting or authorising protest marches or gatherings” and that “there is no permit/ authorisation required for such events”. But the statement said that it encourages organisations to get in touch with the police force to make sure any such event can pass off peacefully. 

The force had not been consulted in relation to this demonstration, gardaí said. 

Protesters marched from the Spire on O’Connell Street to the US Embassy in Ballsbridge, chanting: “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.”  

Gardaí said that organisers had made attempts to mark social distancing guidelines on O’Connell Street for their anticipated number of participants.

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“Social distancing is a guideline, not a regulation”, the garda statement added.

As with other protests, officers said they engaged with those present and, in some cases, recorded the names and addresses of attendees. This information is then added to the garda investigation file which is sent to the DPP for consideration of criminal charges. 

The statement added:  

An Garda Síochána is investigating this matter and the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken. 

With reporting by Stephen McDermott

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