TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has described the protesters who blocked commuter traffic in Dublin as "a disgrace".
The Dublin TD's anger focused on a small number who obstructed buses and cars from crossing O'Connell Bridge on Wednesday.
He said some elements of the crowd were "hell-bent" on causing trouble for gardai.
Thousands were forced to get off buses and walk as the capital came to a standstill. Earlier in the day protesters had also sat on a Luas line, preventing trams from getting into the city centre. Mr Varadkar, inset, said the actions of a few were disgraceful.
"People have a right to protest but they should do so responsibly," he said.
"There were a few who were just hell-bent on a fight with the gardai, and I'd like to particularly thank the gardai for how well they handled the situation."
Officers were forced to use pepper-spray and fight back some members of the crowds as tensions flared.
Some questions have been asked about why officers didn't move the sit-down protest away from O'Connell Bridge sooner, but a source said they were keen not to inflame the situation.
Supt David Taylor, of the Garda Press Office, said they decided not to use batons at O'Connell Bridge to avoid an all-out confrontation.
Individuals identified on CCTV breaking the law are liable "to be arrested", he said.