Police said they had not ruled out any motive behind the stabbing incident, and warned of the spread of “misinformation.”
Violent protests broke out in the Irish capital, Dublin, after four people, including three young children, were injured in a knife attack.
Crowds of protesters clashed with police in the city center on Thursday, hours after a five-year-old girl and a woman in her 30s were seriously injured in the attack outside a school in Dublin. Police said they were receiving emergency treatment.
Two other children, a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, were injured less seriously. The boy has been discharged from the hospital. According to Irish radio RTE, the woman works at the school and takes care of the children.
A man in his 50s was arrested in connection with the incident, and was also taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Police said in a statement that they were “following a specific line of investigation” and “are not looking for anyone else at this time.”
Superintendent Liam Geraghty told reporters after the attack: “I am strongly satisfied from our investigations that there is no terrorism-related activity,” adding: “It appears to be an independent attack.”
Irish Police Chief Drew Harris later told media that “all lines of investigation” were open to determine a motive.
“I have never ruled out any possible motive for this attack,” Harris said.
Protesters clash with police
Later in the evening, RTE Radio and Television reported that clashes broke out between police and demonstrators.
The radio reported that a police car and a bus were set on fire downtown, and that some people stormed a shoe store and were seen running away carrying items.
Police Chief Harris condemned the “disgraceful scenes” and blamed a “completely insane faction driven by far-right ideology” for the chaos, warning of the spread of “misinformation”.
Irish media and witnesses reported that a man armed with a knife stabbed the victims outside the primary school shortly after 1:30 pm (13:30 GMT).
Siobhan Kearney, who witnessed the stabbing, said the scene was “completely chaotic” as she initially watched the events unfold from across the street.
“Without thinking, I crossed the road to help,” she told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
“We got another disarmed young man [the attacker] With the knife, another man took the knife and put it aside [police] To find it.”
Kearney said a group of people tied the suspect to the ground, while some of the injured were taken inside the school.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he was shocked by the incident.
“Emergency services responded very quickly and reached the scene within minutes. I thank them for that,” he said in a statement.
“Gardai have arrested a suspect and are following a specific line of enquiry.”
Local MP Aodan O Riorden, from the Irish Labor Party, said the incident was “worrying”.
“Understand that an individual has been detained. Hope’s injuries are not serious but it will be extremely painful regardless for everyone involved.
Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the opposition Sinn Féin party, said she was “horrified” by what happened.
“There is shock throughout the community. I have just spoken to the headteacher of Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire and conveyed my support to the school community,” she said in a statement.
“I want to send my solidarity to the families of those who were attacked. As a parent, I can only imagine what they are going through now,” she added, praising the police for their quick response.
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