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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Irish police (Gardai) have detained 23 people in central Dublin as a protest against the coronavirus-related restrictions grew into clashes with the law enforcement, Ireland’s RTE broadcaster reported on Saturday.

According to the news outlet, hundreds of protesters gathered in the center of the city and headed to St. Stephen’s Green Park. While the mob was approaching the park, one of the protesters shot a firecracker at a police officer. Following the incident, the law enforcement reportedly started to disperse the demonstration, using batons.

Three police officers were injured during the clashes, according to the report.

Former Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar condemned the violence against the police amid the tense situation caused by the pandemic.

“Horrified to see this on our streets. Irish people have spent last year fighting Covid. There is no excuse for violence to Gardai or anyone. This behaviour on Grafton St by a selfish few undermines sacrifices that millions have made in the last 12 months,” Varadkar wrote on Twitter.

People are sharing photo and video of the protests on social media.

Video circulating from this afternoons protest in the city centre showing fireworks being fired towards Gardai.

Understand extra garda resources are being drafted into the area from other parts of Dublin

— Robin Schiller (@11SchillRob) February 27, 2021

On Wednesday, the Irish government extended the COVID-19 lockdown until April 5 due to a surge in new cases in the republic. As of Saturday, Ireland has confirmed 218,980 COVID-19 cases and 4,313 deaths, with 738 cases and 13 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours.

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