Trinity students among thousands to join Dublin Black Lives Matter protest

Protestors marched to the US embassy in solidarity against police brutality

Trinity students have joined thousands of protesters marching in Dublin city centre on Monday in a demonstration against racism and police brutality.

In solidarity with mass protests that have taken place across the United States in response to the anger over police brutality against George Floyd and other black Americans, protesters in Dublin have taken to the streets for the second day in a row.

Monday’s protest was scheduled to take place outside the G.P.O. at 3pm, with the location later shifted to the area around the Spire in an attempt to better accommodate social distancing when the response for today’s plans was greater than expected. 

Demonstrators marched from the city centre to the US embassy in Ballsbridge, where a minute’s silence was observed.

On Sunday, protests took place outside the US embassy in Ballsbridge and the American ambassador to Ireland’s residence in Phoenix Park, where protestors, many of them masked, peacefully held signs and stood a socially distant two metres apart from one another. 

Protests like these in Dublin and various other cities across the world come in response to video footage depicting a white Minneapolis police officer holding his knee on the throat of a black man, George Floyd, for over eight minutes on May 25. Paramedics found Floyd unresponsive and he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Several other instances of white aggression against black people in the US have recently emerged and sparked social media outrage and physical riots across the country, while onlookers in Ireland have noted that racism and racist police brutality is not unique to the United States. In a desire to show solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, demonstrators in Dublin have organised several events in the coming week. 

Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity student Emma Hrvacic said: “Racism is still evident in all communities. The recent events in America have only brought to attention what discrimination is still experience by people of colour around the world.”

“We joined the protests today and we will attend the ones to follow because we want our black brothers sisters to know that we stand in the fight against racism,” Hrvacic continued.

In the 2018/2019 academic year, 1,101 students from the US were enrolled in Trinity, representing 34% of Trinity students from outside the EU.

Incoming Senior Fresh student Aidan Desjardins, from the US, told Trinity News he chose to attend the protest to “stand in solidarity” and that “to speak up and call out the violence that is being perpetrated is the only acceptable response”.

“If anything, I was not expecting the protest to be so big. I was thrilled to see the number of people who came,” Desjardins said. “It was clear that Dublin stands with those who are fighting against racism.”

There did not appear to be an official presence from any students’ unions nor the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) at the protest, nor did any issue statements on their social media in relation to Monday’s protest.

In a post published to Facebook on Thursday, May 28, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) stated: “TCDSU stands with all students who have been impacted by the recent racist incidents in America. We stand with our students against racism in all forms and will continue to work on bringing about changes in policy and society to combat racism.”

On Friday, May 29, Maynooth Students’ Union (MSU) shared a petition to its Facebook page that calls for the arrest of the officers involved and wrote: “Racism has no place in society.”

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) did not respond to a request for comment.

Audrey Brown

Audrey Brown is a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News.