Six arrested as circus protest ends in violence
A NUMBER of people were hospitalised after violence broke out during an animal rights protest at a circus in Dublin yesterday.
Six people were arrested after the incident at the Belly Wein Circus, which is currently based on the Greenhills Road in Tallaght.
At least five ambulances attended the scene while officers were forced to intervene between the two sides.
Photographer John Rooney (24), who was at the event, described how protesters clashed with workers.
"At roughly 2pm, around 15 people arrived. The protesters entered the property and they were talking to a woman there. That's when it all happened," he said.
Gardaí from Tallaght were called to the scene and six people were arrested for public order offences. Officers are investigating if a baseball bat was used during the clashes.
The circus is currently based near the Cuckoo's Nest pub, off the Greenhills Road in South Dublin.
Senior sources have confirmed that nobody was seriously harmed during the incident but at least three people were brought to Tallaght Hospital with injuries.
Mr Rooney was one of those injured, and he received treatment at the scene yesterday afternoon.
Circus Belly Wein worker Amanda Renz has claimed an elderly lady and children were knocked to the ground during the melee.
She also said stones were thrown and vehicles were damaged in the incident.
She said: "This is not good for Ireland, this is shame for Ireland."
Ms Renz, from Germany, claimed the circus has been at the spot for a month. In spite of the melee, Ms Renz confirmed that the circus's shows will continue.
"We do not mind protests, peaceful protests are good. We do not think this was peaceful," she said.
It is understood that those who were arrested were later released.
Another worker, Nadja Scholl (30), said her three-year-old son got pepper spray in his eye during the clashes.
Protester Peter Greene explained that they gathered at the site after spotting pictures of elephants grazing in a nearby field online. The 58-year-old, from Jobstown, said: "I was here with a small group to halt animal cruelty."
He claimed that they were standing outside the temporary premises and when they moved inside "all hell broke loose".
"It was very, very serious," he added.
Local councillor Dermot Richardson (Ind) attended the scene shortly after the clashes.
He said: "This circus needs to move on. There is no benefit to anyone here."
Superintendent Peter Duff from Tallaght Garda Station appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 01666600.
The Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) called for "emergency government intervention" in relation to a ban on the use of animals in Irish circuses. It warned that Ireland was now being used as "a dumping ground for international circuses" that have had to move as a result of bans coming into play in Austria and Holland.