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LONDON – Irish police arrested 34 people after suspected far-right protesters in central Dublin attacked police, damaged shops and set fire to vehicles Thursday night following the stabbing of three children by an unidentified man earlier in the day.
The head of the Irish police, Commissioner Drew Harris, said one officer was seriously injured in the violence that began after news spread that a 5-year-old girl was receiving emergency medical treatment at a Dublin hospital following the attack outside a school. At least 100 people took to the streets, some armed with metal bars and covering their faces.
Harris described the protesters as a “complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology.”
Police said over 400 officers, including many in riot gear, were deployed throughout the city center to contain the unrest, which they said was “caused by a small group of thugs.” A cordon was set up around the Irish Parliament building, Leinster House, and mounted officers were dispatched to nearby Grafton Street.
“These (riots) are scenes that we have not seen in decades, but what is clear is that people have been radicalized through social media and the internet,’’ Harris told reporters on Friday.
“But I don’t want to lose focus on the terrible event in terms of the dreadful assault on schoolchildren and their teacher. There’s a full investigation ongoing. There’s also a full investigation in respect on the disorder.”