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Riot squad gear up for violent protest at Dail

The riot squad are gearing up for violent protests at Leinster House and Anglo Irish Bank's HQ.

Officers from the Public Order Unit will oversee tonight's Dail protest a week after violent scenes at Leinster House led by Republican group Eirigi.

Suited-up members of the unit will be at the Dail gates should protestors attempt to storm the building for the second week running.

Republicans from dissident group Eirigi along with members of the Socialist Worker's Party tried to break through a cordon at the gates last week.

The groups plan to meet and begin their march from St Stephen's Green tonight.

The threat of violence tonight was exacerbated by a notice on the SWP website saying they "must escalate the action".

At least five protestors and one garda received minor head injuries in last week's clashes.

A source told the Herald the Public Order Unit would be deployed "to safeguard the welfare of the public".

A Garda spokesperson told the Herald they would do everything in their power to facilitate a "peaceful" protest.

The force at Leinster House last Tuesday comprised uniformed gardai backed by officers from the traffic corps as no one anticipated the violence at Government Buildings.

The main protest organisers had cleared the event with gardai, who were not expecting trouble, but sources say the peaceful protest was hijacked by a small element. Eirigi is a hard-line socialist republican movement formed in 2006.

Less than 24 hours after the riotous scenes at Leinster House, gardai from the Public Order Unit were in specialist training behind closed doors.