The violent clashes which occurred Thursday evening in Dublin, after a knife attack which left five people injured, including three children, took the Irish authorities by surprise.

“What we saw last night was an extraordinary explosion of violence (…) with scenes that we have not seen in decades,” declared Friday, November 24, during a press briefing, Commissioner Drew Harris , the head of the Irish police (Garda), adding that the police had arrested thirty-four people.

“We could not have anticipated” this violence, defended the commissioner, who pointed to an “element of radicalization” among the perpetrators of the unrest, blaming social networks. “Far-right groups have exacerbated the situation,” insisted Drew Harris.

According to the first elements of the investigation, a man attacked several people around 1:30 p.m., not far from a school, injuring five, including three children, said Liam Geraghty, head of the local police.

“Without thinking, I crossed the street to help,” witness Siobhan Kearney told Irish media RTE. According to his account, the attacker was disarmed in particular with the help of a young man. “Another man took the knife and put it aside” to give to police, she said.

A suspect has been arrested, announced Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. According to the police, it is a man in his fifties, who was hospitalized. The police are not looking for “anyone else”, declared Liam Geraghty, stressing that investigators ruled out any “terrorist” motive based on the first elements of the investigation.

“It appears to be an isolated attack for which we need to determine the reasons,” he said, referring to the use of a knife. “But we are unable to provide additional information on the nature of the injuries,” he added.

The injured are a woman, three young children and a man, who according to some media could be the suspect arrested. The information has not been officially confirmed.

A 5-year-old girl and the woman, aged around 30, are “seriously” injured, according to police. A 5-year-old boy was able to leave the hospital, according to the same source. The heads of the European Union institutions expressed their emotion and solidarity with Ireland on Thursday evening after this attack.

After this attack, violent clashes broke out at the end of the day in the Irish capital. “Irish Lives Matter” signs and Irish flags were waved during these unprecedented incidents, in which several hundred people took part.

A double-decker bus, a tram and a police car were set on fire, shops were looted, and public transport services were suspended, before partially resuming on Friday morning. The police were targeted by projectiles, thrown by a crowd which was also hostile towards the media.

The clashes with the police broke out in a neighborhood where there is a particularly immigrant population, and against a backdrop of rumors about the origin of the alleged attacker, whose identity has not been revealed.

Calm returned at the end of the evening, after events described as “gratuitous savagery” by Chief Superintendent Patrick McMenamin. No serious injuries were reported, despite the “attacks” which targeted the police, added the police official, specifying that up to 400 police officers were mobilized. Commissioner Drew Harris spoke of a “faction of crazy hooligans driven by far-right ideology.”

“These people claim to be defending Irish nationals”, “they are endangering” the “most innocent and vulnerable”, denounced Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday. “They are a shame to Dublin, a shame to Ireland, a shame to their families and themselves.”

“Irish people are being attacked by these scum,” said one individual during the clashes, with others in the crowd referring to the murder of a young teacher by a Slovak national who was recently sentenced to life in prison.

Faced with a housing crisis, the country has seen the development, under the influence of far-right figures, of an anti-immigration discourse according to which “Ireland is full”.