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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 26 August, 2019
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Sinn Féin councillor climbs City Hall with Catalonia flag at Dublin demo

Councillor Chris Andrews told TheJournal.ie that it was a “spur of the moment” thing.

Image: TheJournal.ie

Updated 7.06pm

SINN FÉIN COUNCILLOR Chris Andrews climbed atop Dublin’s city hall this afternoon, and held aloft a Catalonian flag, during a demonstration after yesterday’s independence referendum in the Spanish region.

He told TheJournal.ie that he did it as a gesture of solidarity with the Catalonian people.

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” he said. “We’d flown the Palestinian flag before so I thought it would be a good thing.”

The vote yesterday saw riot police move in on polling stations in Barcelona and other towns and cities in the Catalan region to stop people from voting, in some cases baton-charging and firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

More than 800 people received medical attention as a result of the crackdown, according to regional authorities.

The rally took place before tonight’s Dublin City Council meeting. Speaking to TheJournal.ie by phone from that meeting, Andrews said that he was shocked by the actions of police in Catalonia yesterday.

“Oh god it was brutal,” the former Fianna Fáil TD said. “I thought things like that were a thing of the past.”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald was one of those attending the protest, and tweeted this picture from the scene.

Gerry Adams welcomed the result of the referendum and said the voice of the Catalan people “must be respected by the Spanish government and the international community”.

Sinn Féin has also criticised the European Commission for its stance on the issue, with TD Sean Crowe saying that they “released an appalling and out of touch statement” on yesterday’s events.

Earlier today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland wouldn’t recognise the result of yesterday’s referendum, but also criticised violence witnessed over the weekend in Catalonia.

The Taoiseach told reporters in Dublin today that it was particularly concerning to see such scenes take place in a European city. He said he didn’t believe violence provides solutions, adding that it only leads to “radicalisation”.

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Sean Murray

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