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Protestor 'threatened to burn himself alive'

AN immigrant protestor brought chaos to the streets outside Government Buildings when he threatened to burn himself alive if Justice Minister Alan Shatter would not meet him, it is alleged.

Hoummada El Habri (41) stood on the roof of his parked van in the middle of Kildare Street, allegedly doused himself in two litres of petrol and demanded to see the minister, while flicking a lighter.

He has appeared in court charged in connection with the one-man demonstration.

El Habri, with an address at South Circular Road, is charged with causing a breach of the peace at Kildare Street on March 7, 2013.

He is pleading not guilty, his lawyer arguing that his alleged actions did not amount to using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.

Judge William Hamill adjourned the case for legal argument on the point.

El Habri also denies a count of failing to produce identification under the Immigration Act.

Garda Barry Moran told Dublin District Court the incident happened at 4.15pm, when he was on patrol and the street was busy.

 

Coke

The accused's van was parked in the middle of the street beside Government Buildings. El Habri was standing on the roof and had a two-litre Coke bottle filled with petrol, which he poured over himself and the van, it was alleged.

This happened "throughout the incident", Garda Moran said.

"He said he wanted to speak to the Minister for Justice about a personal matter," Garda Moran told the court.

"He said he had immigration issues which he wanted to speak to Minister Alan Shatter about."

It was alleged that the defendant flicked the flint on the lighter on at least two occasions. The garda became concerned and radioed for assistance. The Dublin Fire Brigade was also called.

"It was a frightening situation," Garda Moran said. "We didn't know what way it was going to go."

The van's engine was still running and he poured the remainder of the bottle of petrol over himself while he continued to rant, the garda alleged.

He eventually came down, was arrested and brought to Pearse Street Garda Station, where he allegedly failed to produce his ID.

Judge Hamill remanded the accused on continuing bail to September 16.

aphelan@herald.ie


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