23 arrested following protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Dublin

A total of 23 people have been arrested following a violent protest against COVID-19 restrictions in downtown Dublin on Saturday, said police.

Three police members were injured during the incident, and one of them needed hospital treatment, said the Irish national police service in a twitter statement.

According to police and local media reports, the protest, organized by different groups, took place on Grafton Street in Dublin City Center on Saturday afternoon, involving hundreds of people.

“The gathering became violent on occasions with members of An Garda Siochana (Irish national police service) targeted with fireworks, missiles and spit,” said the police statement, adding that police had responded in a professional manner which resulted in calm returning to the city center.

A special sitting of Dublin District Court will take place on Saturday night where a number of the arrested persons will be charged, said the statement, adding that a major investigation is now underway.

Ireland is currently under a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, the government decided to extend the lockdown measures until April 5.

Under the current lockdown measures, all people in the country are required to stay within 5 km from home except for essential reasons and all the non-essential businesses have to be closed.

The Irish Department of Health on Saturday evening reported another 738 COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 218,980. To date, the pandemic has claimed 4,313 lives in Ireland.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in Ireland and some other countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines. As of Feb. 24, a total of 391,355 doses had been administered in Ireland, according to official data.

Meanwhile, 255 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 73 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to the latest information released by the World Health Organization.