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The gardaí and the Kaiser Chiefs


Q.   .. Between Charles Haughey and an Aran jumper?...

Q.   What's the difference between the Gardaí and the Kaiser Chiefs?

A.   The Kaiser Chiefs can predict a riot.

— Overheard outside a
Kilkenny pub, 16 March 2006


An Garda Síochána, the Gardaí, are the Irish police.

• The Kaiser Chiefs are a band from Leeds, England. Their song "I predict a riot" — their big hit — was popular in Ireland the winter of 2005 / 2006.

That's what it's like when a joke has to be explained.

On Saturday, 25 February 2006, Ulster* unionists arranged a protest in Dublin city, ostensibly in memory of the victims of republican terrorism of the late 20th century in Northern Ireland.

This would have been the first march in the Republic by any of the pro-British, mostly-Protestant residents of the North. Would have been — but wasn't.

Pro-republican counterdemonstrators* disrupted the event, action which devolved into property destruction and violence that escalated to running battles between small groups of republican aggitators and the Gardaí.

Gardaí reported that a couple of dozen were injured in the violence, and several dozen arrested.

The would-be demonstrators from Ulster were shuttled by bus to safety.

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"An Garda Síochána had no intelligence to suggest a planned peaceful march by unionists through Dublin would be hijacked by republican rioters, one of the force's most senior officers revealed today."

— Various sources, 26 February, 2006


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* Northern Ireland is composed of most of the region of Ulster — one of four historic political blocs on the island. The modern borders were established in the compromise partition of 1921, which established the lower 26 counties as the Republic of Ireland and conceded the upper 6 counties to continued British rule.

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  • Return to "Ulster" ...


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* Commentators have suggested, and it's probably true, that most of the republican aggitators came from the North specifically to disrupt the unionist event.

The people of Dublin are generally peacable; and the Republic has been largely peaceful since partition and the establishment of the State in 1921. This is not to say that the Irish are not fervent republicans — they are.

In the North, Catholic republicans and Protestant unionists have been beating the heads off each other for decades — though the violence has decreased measurably since the late 1990's.

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  • Return to "counterdemonstrators" ...


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