Refugees-welcome volunteers and community workers around the country have been threatened, doxxed on social media, and subjected to protests outside their homes. As anti-refugee sentiment is stoked by criminal elements and the far-right, how will communities cope? “This is for our culture, our country. The only way to deal with [ refugees] is to burn them out. Go to where they live and burn them out.” The masked speaker outside Finglas Garda Station was the embodiment of the febrile atmosphere at anti-migrant protests in recent weeks. That the man incited violence against migrants and was not immediately arrested garnered huge online comment, but gardaí have insisted they are not light on those who organise or take part in such protests. In Finglas, some protesters were focused on the arrest of a key organiser of the “men-only” protests. Graham Carey was arrested early on Wednesday at his home in Finglas, having told an audience online that protestors would “go through” Finglas Garda Station. Well-known far-right figures attended and streamed on social media from the rally. One person held a Nazi flag complete with swastika at the protest, which blocked main roads in the north Dublin suburb. While much of the content is less overtly violent than the sentiment expressed by the man in the red mask, the undercurrent of the last fortnight has shifted around protests, calling into focus Government and Garda responses, with activists pointing to repeated warnings over the last three years. While Covid lockdowns had fed into an anti-Government, broad conspiracy theory coalition, the crisis surrounding international protection has taken the rhetoric and vitriol to another level and has led to questions over how to police protests. The concern is being felt in Government, where one TD says they have raised fears with Justice Minister Simon Harris that gardaí are “too friendly” with far-right organisations.
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