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Facebook 'in touch with' gardaí after removing group behind anti-lockdown protest in Dublin

RiseUp Éireann organised the Unite the Tribes march on Saturday.

Image: Facebook

RISEUP ÉIREANN, THE group behind an anti-lockdown protest in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, has been removed from Facebook.

The group organised the Unite the Tribes demonstration, which was originally scheduled to take place at St Stephen’s Green at 2pm.

A number of speakers and acts, including poets and musicians, were due to appear at the event before gardaí closed the park ahead of the event.

Protesters later gathered in the surrounding area and the protest turned violent at times.

Around 500 people took part in the demonstration, which saw fireworks shot at gardaí on Grafton Street and three members of the force injured.  

More than 20 people were later arrested at the protest, 13 of whom were charged at a special sitting of Dublin District Court on Saturday night. 

RiseUp Éireann, which in the days beforehand had encouraged members of the public to attend the event, was still visible on Facebook and Instagram until this evening.

A spokesperson for Facebook told TheJournal.ie that the group was removed, along with a number of others, for breaking the platform’s rules.

“We take down posts calling for violence or coordinating harm and we remove content that contains harmful misinformation, such as claims Covid-19 is a hoax or that face masks and social distancing don’t help prevent the spread of Covid-19,” a statement said.

“We’re also in touch with the gardaí.”

A previous version of the page was deleted from Facebook and Instagram in January, and posts on the new page (which disappeared this evening) criticised the social media company for making the old page unavailable to users.

Saturday’s demonstration was hailed as a success by RiseUp Éireann before the page was deleted.

In a post following the event, the group described the demonstration as “electric” and suggested that those who attended were “not going away”.

However, the protest was widely condemned by the gardaí, politicians, and other groups afterwards.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin hit out at the event on Saturday night, saying it said “posed an unacceptable risk to both the public and gardaí”.

“The large gathering, in the face of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, showed a complete lack of respect to the people who have made huge sacrifices during this pandemic,” he said.

In comments to RTÉ radio yesterday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee pointed to the role of misinformation and social media in the lead-up to the protest.

“We need to really look at the type of information and misinformation and disinformation that has been put out there,” she told the This Week programme.

“There’s a number of things I think we need to look at – firstly, how do we work with the social media companies to make sure that information that is incorrect is taken down.”

- Contains reporting by Lauren Boland.

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