Protesters take to the street in Dublin after knife attack injured three children

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Key points

  • Five-year-old girl receiving emergency treatment.
  • Attack happened near Dublin city’s main thoroughfare.
  • It sparked clashes between riot police, anti-immigrant protesters.
  • Motive for the attack unknown.

Dublin: Protests broke out in central Dublin on Thursday evening, local time, after Irish police said a 5-year-old girl was receiving emergency medical treatment following an attack that involved a knife. A woman and two other children were injured.

Irish police said they weren’t treating the case as terror-related, and that a man in his 50s, who was also hospitalised with serious injuries, is a “person of interest”.

A police car and double-decker bus were burnt out and windows smashed in at a nearby Holiday Inn hotel and McDonalds restaurant.

Irish police officers apprehend a man after a demonstration near the scene of an attack in Dublin.Credit: AP

A five-year-old girl was receiving emergency treatment after sustaining serious injuries in the stabbing. A man in his late 40s, also being treated for serious injuries, was arrested by police who said they are not looking for any other suspect.

“I never ruled out any possible motive for this attack. As I’ve said right from the start … all lines of inquiry are open to determine the motive,” Drew Harris, commissioner for Ireland’s national police, said after a senior officer had earlier told reporters that police were satisfied the incident was not terror-related.

Irish police officers form a line to block a demonstration near the scene of an attack in Dublin city centre.Credit: AP

“I’m not going to speculate any further in respect of a terrorist motive. Until we’re sure what the motive is, we have to keep an open mind as to why this happened.”

Earlier, police said a man in his 50s, who also was seriously injured, is a “person of interest” in their investigation. No other details about his identity were revealed.

Police said it appeared the man attacked a number of people on Dublin’s Parnell Square. Members of the public intervened at an early stage of the attack.

A woman in her 30s was also being treated for serious injuries while the two other children, a five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl, suffered less serious injuries. The boy has been discharged from hospital.

The scene was still sealed off when a group of around 50 anti-immigrant protesters briefly broke through a police barrier. Some shouted “get them out” and one kicked the wing mirror off a police car. Another was draped in an Irish flag.

A larger crowd with their faces covered threw objects and fired fireworks at riot police in helmets and shields, who were deployed shortly after. Others smashed police cars.

“They are disgraceful scenes. We have a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far right ideology engaged in serious violence,” Harris said.

Police said they were not in a position to confirm specific details of anyone involved in the incident when asked about the nationality of the detained man.

While the attack happened near a school, superintendent Liam Geraghty said police did not believe it was an attack on the school.

Anthony Boyle, 31, an IT consultant who lives on the road and was passing by told Reuters, “I saw a child on the ground, a little girl”.

“There was complete and utter pandemonium, women wailing, men screaming and crying.”

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement that “we are all shocked by the incident”.

Reuters, AP

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