Black Lives Matter protests due to take place in both Cork and Dublin in the coming days have been called off due to fears that organisers may face prosecution.
This follows news that gardaí are investigating the organisers of the Black Lives Matter protest in Dublin which saw thousands take to the streets on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Black Lives Matter protests seen across the US were sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man, who died in Minneapolis while in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The four officers who arrested Mr Floyd are now facing charges.
Organised on social media, the size of the crowds who attended the Dublin event “substantially” exceeded the expectations of organisers, a garda spokesman said.
Holding events is currently prohibited during the lockdown under the Covid-19 restrictions.
“An Garda Síochána is investigating this matter and the advices of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken,” the spokesman added.
Separate protests to highlight police brutality and racial inequalities, here and in the US, due to take place in Cork today and in Dublin on Monday have since been canceled due to the “threat of prosecution”.
“Protest is not non-essential,” a Facebook page for the Cork Black Lives Matter event planned for today said. “The racist murder of George Floyd and the reality of racism in Ireland are urgent issues which we are completely justified in protesting against.”
A separate Black Lives Matter protest is still due to take place in Cork on Monday June 8. In Limerick, another solidarity Black Lives Matter protest is set to take place tomorrow .
A spokesman for An Garda Síochana said it appeals to all citizens to comply with the public health regulations. The Covid-19 temporary public health restrictions, which give gardaí their enforcement powers, remain in effect until June 8, he added.
Meanwhile, a petition to introduce the teaching of black history in Irish primary and secondary schools has so far gained more than 6,100 signatures. Doing so would help to fight racism, the petition states.
“As a nation, we can start to deal with this problem now and not wait until there is a public show of shame as seen in America, the global symbol of democracy,” said the petition.