Conflicts & War

Irish riot police to carry tasers and water cannons to deal with riots

Dublin, Nov 29 (EFE).- Irish police chief Drew Harris told parliament on Wednesday that riot police will be equipped with tasers and water cannons after Thursday’s massive riots in Dublin.

The Garda Síochána chief made the announcement in an appearance before the justice committees of both houses of parliament, where he discussed the stabbing of three children and a school care assistant that sparked the most violent rioting in the country in decades.

Harris said that some 500 people were involved in assaults on police officers, burning of buses and trams and looting of shops, in protests that he claimed were fueled by xenophobia and the “far right” after it circulated on social networks that the perpetrator of the stabbings was a foreigner.

The chief commissioner admitted to the committees that the Garda is facing “a different form of disorder than we have experienced before”, requiring the force to “evolve” and adapt its “tactics and equipment.”

Harris announced that officers in public order units will be equipped with two water cannons, tasers, “enhanced vehicles” and “round shields.”

He also announced that all “front line” police officers will be equipped with “even stronger incapacitant sprays,” “more personal safety equipment” and body cameras.

Appearing before Irish lawmakers, Harris denied that the Garda had lost control of the situation and said he had “no intention whatsoever of resigning.”

The riots caused “tens of millions of Euros” in material damage, according to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

The police chief insisted that the violence in the streets was “a spontaneous incident” and that there were no “prior indications” that could have predicted its magnitude.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks, key for Dublin’s economy during the Christmas season, Harris said that a “high visibility policing operation” was underway with a large presence of officers on the streets, as well as the Public Order Unit.

In Thursday’s attack, the assailant stabbed two girls, ages five and six, a six-year-old boy and a school care assistant, a woman in her 30s, who was trying to protect the children.

The woman and the five-year-old girl were critically injured and remain in the hospital.

The boy was released on Friday, while the six-year-old girl, who suffered head injuries, was released over the weekend.

The suspect, who is in his late 40s and is believed to have held Irish citizenship for around 20 years, was also injured and taken to hospital after the attack.

No arrests have been made in connection with the stabbing. EFE

ja/ics/mcd

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