Another larger group of students was reported outside the Dail throwing cans & bottles at it. Several students seem to be injured in the suppression of the protest.
Tens of thousands of students are demonstrating as part of the USI protests against plans to introduce fees, these students carrying out the occupation appear to have broken away from the main demonstration which is taking place around the corner in Merrion square. Student members of the WSM, eirigi and the SWP are at the scene. (pic via indymedia.ie )
It has been reported that eggs were thrown at the building and that four Gardai horses soon arrived on the scene. Thousands of students had marched from Parnell Square to Merrion Square, where they were to addressed by student leaders, among them Union of Students in Ireland President Gary Redmond.
The registration fee is expected to rise to 2500 euro, a rise of 1000 euro. USI says this will force thousands of students will be forced to drop-out.
Shockingly USI distanced itself after the Gardai attack on the protest not from the police violence but from the student occupation, with a statement that said "USI is saddened by the actions of a small minority of people who staged a sit-in protest at the Dept of Finance, shortly after the USI protest march today. This anti-social behaviour was completely separate from USI’s demo." The statement did not say what, if any, mandate they had to issue condemnations of their members and will be likely to raise a considerable outcry at USI congress this year. It reflects a long pattern of conservative USI leaders being elected in quiet periods who get left behind as student militancy sweeps past them
A WSM reporter at the scene said that "The numbers outside the Department are still growing as people come up from the other at the Dail. There are now maybe four hundred on Baggot Row. The Dail was egged and bottled by a breakaway march of about a thousand, many of whom are here now. The Department is also being egged." Inside the Dail, Ciaran Cannon reported on Twitter that empty bottles, cans, several eggs and a sliced pan had been thrown.
Further updates came in from our three reports on the spot as follows
"Some of the crowd outside are now trying to push through the doors to get into the Department, a line of Gardai are trying to push them back" (14.35)
"Riot vans are being brought up, students are now throwing eggs at these" (15.05)
Horses used against protest in Dublin"Line of horse cops trying to clear the streets, totally surrounded by sitting students now. Well over five hundred on the street, can't see more. Line of cops in front of the building too" (15.12)
"Riot cops have now formed a line, there is a sit down protest in progress in front of them. The students occupying the building have been got out, kicking. " (15.15) - this cut off with the word people, see below
"At least three students have been injured. Cops are hitting people on the head with batons" (15:24)
"Seems gardai are gaining upper hand, crowd dispersing, someone put up a free beer poster"(Johnny Fallon at 15.26 on Twitter)
"They batoned lines of people, dragged away a lot of people but at least some were just thrown outside the cordon rather than arrested. Now they're forcing people away with a line of riot police. At least one person was injured in the eviction. Sorry for the last text, was getting smacked" (15.28)
"Riot cops, horses and a dog have forced everyone back down towards Stephen's Green. Still at least a hundred people facing off with the line of police on Stephen's Green, they are being run back. We have just been charged by horses" (15.40)
"About three hundred folk outside the dail, just leaving now. Things seem to be quieting down now. Reports of some arrests, unsure on that point" (16.00)
Reports on offical state media (RTE) published an hour after these clashes were first reported here on wsm.ie reported the deployment of mounted Gardai and armoured vehicles and that "Violent scenes are continuing between a large number of riot police, gardaí and students. Some students have bloody noses and one student has been carried away, possibly unconscious." but went on to claim that "Some students have expressed deep upset at the outbreak of violence."
In advance of the protest Free Education for Everyone (FEE) had issued a call to meet up to form a Socialist bloc at The Ambassador Theatre. FEE said defeating the cuts "will only happen if students like you get involved." and describes itself as "an active campaign against fees and youth unemployment that strives to organise second and third level students right across the country. It is currently organised in UCD, Trinity, Maynooth, NUIG, UCC and UL. FEE has organised a series of protests, blockades and occupations against fees. FEE members are actively involved in their Students’ Unions as well as building FEE.We are aiming to build a mass movement that can defeat fees and education cuts. "
This morning the Taoiseach refused to say in the Dáil if third-level fees would be introduced or capitation fees increased in Budget. Brian Cowen said it was imperative that all areas would be considered for reductions and no area could be ringfenced or immune to cuts.
The last major student march was in 2008 when 15,000 people demonstrated and this led to the promise not to reintroduce fees. USI are saying 25,000 have marched today while Gardai claim there are 12 to 15 thousand on the streets.