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Riots broke out in the Irish capital following a stabbing attack allegedly perpetrated by an individual of immigrant background, an incident that prompted concerns about anti-immigrant and far-right elements in the country, the Washington Post reported.
Protests broke out in Dublin last Thursday after a man stabbed four people outside a school, including three children. Police said victims were being treated for their injuries and that the man, also injured, had been detained.
But rumors spread online that the alleged perpetrator was an immigrant or had an immigrant background. Unnamed sources told the BBC that the man was an Irish citizen who had lived in Ireland for two decades.
Irish police said anti-immigrant protesters marched at the scene of the knife attack before the violence later broke out. The unrest saw the destruction of 11 police vehicles, three buses and the looting of 13 stores.
Authorities blamed a “lunatic, hooligan faction driven by a far-right ideology” for the violence, saying that some of the rioters had been radicalized online. They added that 34 people were arrested and described the unrest as “scenes that we have not seen in decades.”
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar quickly condemned the riots, noting that the unrest was “not who we are,” and that those involved in them had “brought shame on Ireland.”
The government later announced plans to modernize its laws against hatred and introduce legislation related to CCTV access for police.
Although Ireland does not have any far-right politicians or parties, small anti-immigrant protests have grown in recent years, according to NBC News.
Analysts explained to the Post that demographics in Irish society have changed over the years, with around 20 percent of those living in Ireland having been born in another country.
What further exacerbates tensions is a housing crisis in the country’s booming economy. The crisis has increased calls against refugees and asylum seekers, with critics noting that foreigners are receiving preferential treatment.