THERE IS high concern surrounding a planned anti-lockdown protest due to take place in Cork this weekend following the violent scenes in Dublin last week.
Up to 2,000 angry demonstrators gathered in the capital city last weekend calling for an immediate end to the lockdown, with the protests soon turning violent.
According to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, the riots were attended by "anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine and anti-facemask types" and were joined by elements of the far-right.
Several arrests were made in connection with the protest, including a man who was seen on video walking up to Gardaí through the crowds and letting off a firework directly at them.
A second protest planned for Cork this weekend will still go ahead despite the scenes in Dublin last week, its organiser has confirmed.
The Irish Examiner reports that a high garda presence will be deployed to the streets of Cork, including uniformed gardaí and the Garda public order unit.
A spokesperson told the outlet that gardaí "will manage this in a peaceful way but we have certain powers under the Health Act and we will use them where appropriate"-- and warned that the organisers of the lockdown rally could face a criminal investigation if it goes ahead.
"It is an offence for a person to organise an event such as this rally," the spokesperson said.
"It is not considered a reasonable excuse to leave your home to attend such an event. Rallies like this are not helping anyone to get out of lockdown faster."
Some Cork city businesses who are allowed to operate under Level 5 restrictions have announced they will be closing their doors on the day of the protest.
A spokesperson for the Cork protest, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, a former County Councillor, said the organisers condemned the people who turned violent at Dublin's protest, but tomorrow's rally will go ahead as a "peaceful assembly".