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Thursday 18 October 2018

Housing activists 'Take Back The City' close off O'Connell Bridge 'to shut down the whole city'

  • Housing activist group attempting 'to shut down the whole city'
  • Group hosted their biggest protest yet across the country today
  • 'Take Back The City' holding 21 rallies nationwide today
Protesters sitting on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge (Photo: Tony Gavin)
Protesters sitting on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge (Photo: Tony Gavin)
(Photo: Tony Gavin)

Denise Calnan and Wayne O'Connor

Housing activist group 'Take Back The City' closed off Dublin's O'Connell Bridge in attempt 'to shut down the whole city'.

The group were hoping to host their biggest protest yet across the country today.

Marching towards the capital's main thoroughfare, it was announced that they would be attempting to "shut down the whole city".

Traffic came to a standstill on the bridge, with buses serving Dublin Airport among those stuck.

The group of up to 1,000 protesters sat on the north and south sides of the bridge, blocking traffic from crossing Dublin city centre.

The north and south quays are now reportedly open, with some diversions still in place.

(Photo: Tony Gavin)
(Photo: Tony Gavin)

The 'Take Back the City' protesters gathered at the Garden of Remembrance at 1pm to demonstrate before marching down O'Connell St under a garda escort.

As gardaí attempted to guide the protesters south off the bridge organisers told the protesters to turn, move across the south side of the bridge and sit along the quays.

They allowed a Luas tram to move off the bridge onto O'Connell St before closing the northern end, preventing traffic moving onto Eden quay.

'Take Back The City', who have hit headlines for occupying vacant properties in Dublin's north inner city, said it's "time for the movement to grow".

As part of their "nationwide action", rallies and protests were also organised in Cork, Waterford, Sligo, Wexford, Kildare, Limerick, Sligo, Derry, Belfast, Drogheda, Maynooth and Bray.

Two separate rallies are taking place in Galway, while in Dublin a total of seven rallies were planned; Garden of Remembrance, Balbriggan, UCD, Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Finglas Village and Crumlin.

Writing online, the group said the housing crisis is "an islandwide problem".

"Things are speeding up. The housing crisis is an islandwide problem. It affects different areas in different ways, but has similar causes and effects," they said.

"This is why a strong, supportive movement across the entire island is so important.

"It's time for the movement to grow. We're calling on grassroots groups, housing activists, community groups nationwide to take action in their own areas.

"Actions could be anything from pickets, info stalls, door knocking, protests, creative action to occupations."

The group have also planned a protest in early October.

An Garda Síochana said their primary objective surrounding public demonstrations is "to ensure the safety of the public, free movement of traffic and prevent any breaches of the peace."

"An Garda Síochána respects and facilitates the right to peaceful and lawful protest. We would ask activist groups or those planning to engage in protest or demonstration activity to contact and liaise with local Gardaí," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"An Garda Síochána does not comment on the activities of groups involved in specific campaigns or on material published online by third parties.

"We would advise anyone with information or with concerns about those engaged in unlawful activity to report the matter to local Gardaí for investigation."

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