occupy brown thomas

Photos: Gardaí respond to rolling protests at Grafton Street shops

Protesters entered Brown Thomas, and there were rolling road closures in the city before the action ended.

8/12/2015. AN ANTI AUSTERITY protest. Pictured Gar Sam Boal Sam Boal

A GROUP OF over 100 anti-austerity protesters led gardaí on a tour of Dublin’s busiest shopping street this evening.

Dozens of gardaí from a number of Dublin stations – including at least five from the Mounted Support Unit – responded.

The ad-hoc march in the Grafton Street area immediately followed a sit-down protest at the landmark Bank of Ireland branch on nearby College Green earlier this evening.

A group of around 40 protesters occupied the banking hall at the institution, while others protested outside.

They were eventually escorted from the bank after the Public Order Unit entered via a side door and moved through the room, guiding protesters to a door at the opposite side of the building. There were no arrests – and the protest ended peacefully.

To Brown Thomas

The protest group – made up of anti-austerity and anti-water charge groups from Dublin and elsewhere – then proceeded up Suffolk Street and along to Brown Thomas on Grafton Street.

Some doors of the department store were closed by staff members, and shoppers turned away – however other doors remained open and the busy Christmas trade continued at counters throughout the store.

Shoppers and staff alike appeared bemused at the scenes, as around 12 gardaí entered to escort around twenty people back out to the street.

Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre

Back out in Grafton Street, the protest then headed south. Around 50 gardaí responded at the top of the street – with officers barring the main door of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in a four-deep formation, as a small number of protesters shouted and chanted outside.

Other protesters headed further along the Green, before returning to Grafton Street.

Another Bank

As they returned down Grafton Street, a small group of protesters attempted to occupy another bank branch – the AIB, at the bottom of the street.

However, the main bank was closed and only the ATM lobby open to the public – so the protest moved away within a few minutes.

Rolling road closures

There were rolling road closures along Dame Street, Westmoreland Street, on O’Connell Bridge and on O’Connell Street (northbound) as the protest continued, in dwindling numbers.

The action broke up shortly before 5.30pm at the Spire, after an organiser with a loudhailer addressed those remaining.

Read: Dozens of protesters and gardaí enter Bank of Ireland College Green after anti-austerity march >

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