Six people arrested after brawl between circus members and animal rights activists in Dublin

The altercation took place outside the camp of the Belly Wien circus, on the Greenhills Road in Tallaght, at around 2.30pm

circus1_censoredSix people were arrested earlier today following a brawl between members of a circus, and animal rights activists in Dublin. The altercation took place outside the camp of the Belly Wien circus, on the Greenhills Road in Tallaght, Dublin, at around 2.30pm.

It is understood that animal welfare campaigners staged a protest by the camp, against the circus’ use of wild animals. The demonstration is thought to have escalated, turning into a violent row between people on both sides.

Gardai attended the scene and arrested six people suspected of being involved. A number of other people were taken to hospital after being injured in the incident. A garda spokesman told the Irish Daily Mirror: “We confirm that gardai were called to investigate a public order incident on Greenhills Road [on Wednesday] afternoon. “A number of people were arrested.”

It is believed that gardai are also investigating allegations of assault, and criminal damage.

Protesters have said they were hit with iron bars, posting images of injuries allegedly suffered online. One protester, Gary Brandon, claimed: “I was battered on the ground with a baseball bat to the back of the head and then collapsed, [one of the female protesters] is covered in blood, [another female protester] is covered in blood with head injuries and injuries to her legs and arms, [a male protester] has his head and face burst open and more were injured with stones and everything else.”

Mr Brandon alleged that gardai were also attacked. He added: “I’m in complete shock, I’ve never seen so many men beat women with bars as they lay on the ground.” The demonstrator said that he was taken to hospital along with other people, praising the ambulance staff.

When contacted by the Irish Daily Mirror, a member of the Belly Wien Circus stated they were not in a position to comment on the incident. As of Wednesday evening, the Irish Daily Mirror had received no response from the circus’ spokeswoman.

The Belly Wien is a family-run circus which originated in Germany, before moving to Austria, the Netherlands, and now Ireland. Since arriving in the Republic last month, the circus has caused controversy over its use of wild animals such as elephants and tigers.

Last week, the Not For Your Entertainment organisation called on animal act circuses to be banned in Ireland. A spokesperson for the group said in a statement: “Circuses like Belly Wien came to Ireland with their chained up elephants because they were banned in the Netherlands. “Ireland shouldn’t be a place where animal abuse in the form of circuses can continue to flourish and profit from cruelty.”

A man is arrested following the brawl

Independent councillor Dermot Looney revealed he had contacted South Dublin County Council with regards to the Belly Wien circus. The local politician urged families to boycott the show. He said: “I have formally written to South Dublin County Council regarding the “Circus Belly Wien” at Kilnamanagh. “I have asked SDCC to confirm a number of issues regarding this circus.

“In 2014 I proposed a motion, passed by the Council, which bans circuses with wild animal species from Council land (parks etc).