Irish police have dismantled the “Occupy Dame Street” Irish protest camp in an early morning operation that 100 police officers took part in.
A police statement made it clear that concerns about Dublin’s St.Patrick’s Parade and the safety of marchers was the key issue behind dismantling the camp.
Government officials had warned that the camp, which is located in the plaza of the Central Bank building opposite Trinity College, would have to go before the St.Patrick’s Parade celebrations which pass right by the site.
There was one arrest during the operation.
Later in the day, after the Dublin City Council had cleaned the area, some protesters attempted to re-erect their tents but the gardai (police) intervened (see photo above, taken at 12.30pm). The Central Bank has requested the gardai maintain a presence at the site.
An opinion poll on news site Journal.ie found that a large majority of those surveyed agreed with dismantling the camp which was set up outside Ireland’s Central Bank building last October in solidarity with the “Occupy New York” protest.
Officials from Dublin Corporation dismantled the camp under police supervision after the organizers had refused requests to withdraw their protest.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar and City bosses had asked the protestors to move before the annual St Patrick’s Day parade which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
Just 15 protestors were on site outside the Central Bank when the police swooped at 3.30am on Thursday morning.
One protester was charged for public disorder after a cordon was erected around the camp.
Organized in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street style protests across the world, the Dublin group had been in place since October.
The Occupy Wall Street camp was dismantled by police in New York last November.
The Dublin protestors have vowed to come back according to local media reports.
One said: “We will hold a demonstration in front of the Central bank later on Thursday. Our protest is not over.
“We are hoping that the removal of the camp will result in more support as it did in other cities.”
Police maintained that they had communicated by letter and in person with the organizers in recent weeks and had raised concerns over health and safety issues ahead of the St Patrick’s Day parade.
“We sought their assistance and co-operation, however this was not forthcoming,” a police spokesman said.
“This morning’s operation continued for a number of hours as the site was cleared.
“(Police) priority is to ensure that all of St Patrick’s Day events and celebrations pass off smoothly and that all participants and the large crowds of spectators at the parade can access and egress the parade route without a risk or threat to their health and safety.”
Local businesses had also complained bitterly about the Occupy camp which they stated was costing them customers.
Watch the Irish Times 'Occupy Dame St' protesters removed video report below: