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Anti-lockdown protesters gather at RTÉ and Herbert Park in Dublin

Anti-lockdown protesters gather at RTÉ and Herbert Park in Dublin

Disparate groups of anti-lockdown protesters have gathered at different sites in Dublin as Ireland celebrates St Patrick’s Day.

The Irish Times reports that hundreds have gathered in Herbert Park in south Dublin, with the anti-lockdown event billed as Le Cheile Day - “a mental health day”.

Singers and musicians have entertained the crowd, with members of An Garda Síochána keeping a discreet presence.

Separately, a small group of anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered at the RTÉ campus in Donnybrook in the afternoon.

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At least three other protests and gatherings were due to take place in and around Dublin city centre on Wednesday.

The streets around Leinster House — including Kildare Street, Molesworth Street and Merrion Street — were closed off in anticipation of protests.

A heavy Garda presence at the headquarters of RTÉ in Dublin. Photo: PA Images.

Gardaí were out in numbers from early morning in Dublin, with checkpoints on the main roads into the city centre as well as near RTÉ to establish if people were breaching Covid-19 regulations and travelling more than 5km from home.

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More than 2,500 officers are to be deployed across checkpoints and arterial routes across the country in a largescale St Patrick’s Day operation.

Much of the focus will be on Dublin, amid fears that anti-lockdown activists will seek to use the public holiday to demonstrate against coronavirus restrictions.

However, gardaí in other cities are also preparing for public gatherings and potential unrest, including large crowds gathering to drink in some locations.

Gardaí have expressed concern over the potential joining together of “hoodlums, teen gangs or right-wing groups” in a number of disparate protests planned to take place in Dublin.

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