Gardai investigating potential lockdown rules breach at Dublin Black Lives Matter protest

Gardai investigating potential lockdown rules breach at Dublin Black Lives Matter protest

GARDAI ARE investigating Monday’s Black Lives Matter protest in Dublin over a potential breach of Ireland’s Covid-19 regulations. 

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets of the Irish capital in a show of solidarity with the protests being witnessed across the US following the death of George Floyd in police custody. 

Crowds wearing protective face masks and carrying placards gathered outside the GPO on O’Connell Street before moving on to the US Embassy where further demonstrations were held. 

While the protest did lead to some disruption for anyone using the Luas, it was a peaceful demonstration free from the violence being witnessed in the US. 

However, according to Dublin Live, Gardai have launched an investigation into the protest over a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations that place restrictions on holding large events. 

Gardai say there was "no advance consultation with An Garda Síochána in relation to this protest which was organised on social media" but  added organisers "at all times pro-actively engaged with An Garda Síochána during the event, the size of which substantially exceeded their expectations". 

A Garda statement read: "The organisers had made attempts to mark social distancing guidelines on O’Connell Street for their anticipated number of participants. Social distancing is a guideline not a regulation. 

"As with all other protests which have taken place during the existence of the COVID-19 Regulations An Garda Síochána has engaged with organisers and attendees in line with the 4e’s, including where appropriate recording names and addresses and then seeking the advice of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

"An Garda Síochána is investigating this matter and the advices of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken. 

"The Covid-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives." 

Ireland's  Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has previously stated that attending such events is "a risk to life", adding that "now is not the time" to attend events with the potential to become mass gatherings. 

Mr. Floyd, 46, died in police custody in Minneapolis, last Monday, May 25.  

Footage widely shared on social media showed white police officer Derek Chauvin involved kneeling on his throat while Mr. Floyd could be heard pleading: “I can’t breathe”. 

A preliminary autopsy carried out by the county medical examiner determined Mr Chauvin had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.   

By then, officers noted Mr. Floyd had been non-responsive for almost three minutes. Two minutes before the knee was removed, one officer had been unable to find a pulse.   

He was eventually taken to hospital but pronounced dead roughly an hour later.   

Mr. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is facing more than 12 years in prison if convicted.