By Jennifer McShane, GCD,
The Garda Ombudsman, which investigates complaints against officers, has now received 28 complaints about the behaviour of officers on duty at the student march where riots broke out last Wednesday.
The number of complaints received by the Ombudsman has more than doubled in the last two days.
The largest student protest in a generation involving around 25,000 people was marred when some protesters were involved in violent clashes with gardaí.
Among the complaints are claims that gardaí used ?excessive force? on peaceful protestors at the Department of Finance on Merrion Row. A Garda spokesman said investigators would examine each complaint, referring to footage where available, and decide whether the complaints were admissible before they were investigated in full.
Bricks, beer cans and eggs were used as missiles during the clashes and some protesters suffered cuts to the head and bloody noses.
The Garda?s public order unit, or riot squad, was deployed during the clashes and the force?s mounted unit and dog unit were also used to help bring the protest under control.
It has been reported that about 50 people were at the centre of the disturbances and a spokesperson for the Gardaí said when the group refused to leave the building, the public order unit was sent in to remove them in the interests of public safety. He said the Garda?s actions on the day were ?at all times in proportion to the situation on the ground.?
However, Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins, who viewed amateur footage of the demonstration said people were right to question the Garda?s tactics: ?The use of Garda horses and dogs is an outrageous abuse of the right to protest. The intention was clearly to intimidate peaceful protesters.?
The Union of Students in Ireland has distanced itself from the violence that took place on Wednesday, saying they blamed ?left-wing? groups for the ?destructive and anti-social violence? and said diverted attention from its campaign against higher student fees.
There were three arrests at the demonstration and two people were charged with criminal damage and breach of the peace offences.