One of the nine Yellow Vest protests across the country brought traffic to a near standstill after an attempt to block Dublin's Port Tunnel earlier today.
The demonstration was one of several across the country in Wexford, Donegal, Waterford, Letterkenny, Galway, Wicklow and Dublin which called for the resignation of the Taoiseach and for their list of 18 demands to be answered.
Among the demands are an immediate cessation of evictions, a general election and the resignation of Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris, medicinal Cannabis legalised immediately, an abolishment of vulture funds and the discontinuance of several taxes.
Glenn Miller, a representative of Yellow Vest Ireland, said that the movement is a peaceful demonstration, but that inconveniencing people is crucial as less burdensome protests go unnoticed by the government.
“It was a demand campaign,” he said.
“We demand action from our government whose policies are allowing the issues to escalate unaddressed and the spin of the government is not helping issues at all.
“How many protests do you think have gone on in Dublin for the last decade? There have been at least 500 for various things from water to abortion to whatever the issue is. Did the government listen to any of those protests? Or were they placated and sent off on their way?
“Taking a leaf out of the French Yellow Vest, they have been demonstrating in the regions for several months, blocking roads and being a haphazard, but doing it peacefully. It’s a peaceful proactive or peacefully disruptive protest and that’s why we’re blocking the port or blocking O’Connell Bridge or, today we blocked a junction in Wexford Town, another junction in Galway and so on and so forth.”
Mr Miller admitted that the group have not made an attempt to directly contact any politicians, nor does he feel it will benefit their cause.
“It’s a leaderless movement,” he said.
“The people in government are elected in government on a mandate. Their mandate or remit is what it is and most of the politicians that are there have been with that mandate and remit to feather their own nests.
“There are no politicians at the head of it. It’s quite the reverse. All the politicians are saying stay away from it; that we’re all Nazis and this sort of stuff, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s apolitical, it’s not right, it’s not left. It’s right down the middle. It’s not a nefarious thing to want what’s right for the people.”
Mr Miller urged people who find themselves caught up in the demonstrations to leave their cars in solidarity for the movement. A movement, he says, which will not cease until it meets its demands.
“Today I spoke at one of the blockages which lasted five minutes and we stood at the junction for five minutes in solidarity with the people waiting on trolleys for days,” he said.
“If somebody is complaining about sitting for five minutes of disruption can you imagine how they would feel if they were lying on a trolley for 24 hours or more. People that are homeless are homeless 24/7 and five minutes of disruption out of people’s day is not much to ask for. In fact, what they should be doing is getting out of their cars in solidarity and hanging about for five minutes or ten minutes or four hours or a day.
“Only that way do we see any meaningful change coming about. The movement will continue. Do you think we will be like the Paris movement? Do you think that we’re going to be smashing cities up and burning the place down? No, it’s a peaceful disruptive movement.”
Meanwhile in Belfast, the campaigners gathered outside City Hall to demand an end to austerity policies and action on a range of social issues in Northern Ireland.
A numbers of speakers addressed the crowd calling for a halt to public-sector cuts, the abolition of zero-hour contracts and a reversal of contentious changes to the welfare and benefits system.
British lawmakers called on the police on Tuesday to do more to tackle intimidation of politicians and journalists outside parliament after protesters shouted verbal abuse at a prominent pro-EU Conservative during live television interviews.
French security forces fired tear gas and flash-bang ammunition at protesters during a march through central Paris as several thousand supporters of the yellow vest movement kept up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron with the first action of 2019.