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Anti-immigration protest brings central Dublin to a halt

A man sits outside one of the dozens of tents which have been pitched by migrants along a stretch of the Grand Canal, in Dublin, Sunday May 5, 2024.
A man sits outside one of the dozens of tents which have been pitched by migrants along a stretch of the Grand Canal, in Dublin, Sunday May 5, 2024. Copyright Brian Lawless/PA
Copyright Brian Lawless/PA
By Euronews
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The last year has seen rising tensions on the island of Ireland over how to accommodate immigrants as the far right increasingly exploits the issue.

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Hundreds of protesters marched through Dublin city centre holding signs against immigration into Ireland. 

They were met by a small counter protest, with police officers blocking the two groups as they exchanged chants.

The march, which began just after 2.30pm, was comprised of protesters wearing Irish flags and chanting "our streets".

The demonstration took 45 minutes to pass through the streets of the Irish capital, causing traffic disruption.

The protest is the latest in a series of increasingly conspicuous anti-immigration demonstrations in Ireland, whose politics of migration and integration have come under intense strain over the last year.

The summer of 2023 saw a group of immigrants sleeping in tents in Dublin city centre chased out by a mob who set their encampment on fire.

A few months later, a major riot broke out nearby when a man of Algerian descent – who has been in Ireland for 20 years – stabbed several people outside a school in the capital. The resulting violence was blamed on far-right instigators who have sought to exploit the country's chronic housing shortage to whip up grievance against non-Irish residents, particularly Muslims and those recently arrived. 

The Irish police cleared a "tent city" of unhoused asylum seekers and migrants from a Dublin street last week, but another has already sprung up along the city's Grand Canal.

Meanwhile, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said that there has been a significant uptick in asylum seekers crossing into Ireland from Northern Ireland in recent months.

Many of those arriving apparently fear being sent to Rwanda under a new British government scheme to process asylum claims in the African country before allowing any successful claimants in.

The Irish government has proposed to send some of those arriving across the UK-Ireland land border back to face British authorities, but the UK government has refused to discuss the proposal, saying it will not accept migrants back from any EU country, including Ireland.

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