Clashes between far-right anti-Islam supporters and anti-racism protesters prompted intervention by the Garda Public Order Unit in Dublin.
The disturbances arose in advance of a bid by Pegida, the German-founded anti-Islam organization, to establish an Irish wing outside Dublin’s GPO on Saturday.
Several hundred anti-racism demonstrators staged a counter-rally 90 minutes earlier in the city center.
Scuffles broke out when a small party broke away from the anti-racist group and chased a group of Pegida supporters into a discount store.
An RTE cameraman claimed he was struck with a Garda baton when covering the scuffles. RTE said they intended to lodge a formal protest after the cameraman was injured when working.
In a separate incident Peter O’Loughlin, chairman of Identity Ireland, a right-wing anti-immigration party which supports Pegida, was attacked on a Luas tram taking him to the proposed launch. He said he received several head stitches in hospital after he was attacked with a blunt instrument.
O’Loughlin said there were 150 Pegida supporters in the vicinity of the GPO waiting for the start of the eventually aborted launch.
“We’re not going to stop what we’re doing, that’s for sure. We have to discuss what we’re going to do but we’re not going to be intimidated by this,” O’Loughlin said.
The attempted Pegida rally was the first in Dublin on a day when the organization held marches in 14 other European countries protesting against the influx of Muslim migrants to the continent.
Pegida was founded in Dresden, Germany, in October 2014, and its German-language initials stand for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.