Gardai 'all set' for Extinction Rebellion protest in city centre
Gardai have drawn up contingency plans for today's Extinction Rebellion Ireland protest in the heart of the capital.
The climate change protesters are planning to take over O'Connell Bridge at midday as people leave Dublin for the Easter bank holiday weekend.
A senior garda told the Herald that multiple public order units will be on standby and extra uniformed patrols will be in place in the O'Connell Street area.
Operations are being co- ordinated by Store Street Garda Station.
Gardai south of the Liffey have been put on standby should the protest spread or disorder breaks out.
"From a garda point of view, it is good that the protest is happening on Good Friday, a quiet day in terms of traffic in the city," said the senior garda.
"But nothing is being left to chance and extensive plans have been drawn up to deal with any public order issues.
"Of course, people have a legitimate right to protest, and there is no intelligence that there will be any violence."
The demonstrators are planning a "no-move march" and "sit-down" on O'Connell Bridge.
The timing of the protest will coincide with the large numbers of people leaving Dublin for Easter.
Protesters will gather at the Spire in O'Connell Street at 1pm to demand that the Government takes urgent action to tackle climate change.
After speeches, they will "slow-walk to O'Connell Bridge" where they will remain until they get a response from the Government or are forcibly removed by gardai, said a spokesman.
Extinction Rebellion Ireland is part of a movement in 43 countries organising various forms of protest this week to highlight the threat of climate change facing the world.
There has been chaos in London throughout the week as protesters stage sit-ins.
It is understood that more than 500 people have been arrested in the city since Monday.
Three of them were charged with maliciously obstructing a railway after they glued themselves to a train in Canary Wharf, the busy financial centre in east London.
The group's spokesperson, Ciaran O'Carroll, said members caused traffic chaos in busy Oxford Circus when they "locked themselves on to a structure".
Mr O'Carroll said the protesters now had their sights firmly set on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge.
"We will gather at the Spire at 1pm and will have a very slow march over O'Connell Bridge," he said.
"We will take the march down to a 'no-move march', and stay on O'Connell Bridge for as long as it takes to get a response from the Government.
"We won't be blocking the Luas or emergency vehicles, but the bridge will be blocked to road traffic.
"We have people prepared to stay there for as long as it takes."