A violent clash between rioters and police in central Dublin on Thursday injured several police officers, one seriously, and prompted the arrests of 34 people, according to the Garda Síochána, the Irish police force.
Rioters set fire to police vehicles, destroyed public buses and looted or damaged more than a dozen shops, the Gardai said. A mob had gathered in the city center following a knife attack that had seriously injured a female schoolteacher and three young children.
The escalating unrest appalled the authorities, who blamed a far-right faction for fueling tensions by spreading misinformation about the knife attack.
Unconfirmed speculation about the nationality of the knife-wielding attacker spread online in the hours after the stabbings, with one protester telling the Agence France-Presse news service that “Irish people are being attacked by these scum.”
“We have not seen a public disorder situation like this before,” Drew Harris, the Garda police commissioner, said to reporters on Friday, adding that there was “an element of radicalization” to the unrest. A group of people had taken “a thimbleful of facts” and added “a bathful of assumptions — hateful assumptions,” he said.
Videos of the scene on Friday morning showed a strong police presence and city workers scraping burned debris off the roads and towing away damaged cars.
On Friday, Irish officials condemned the rioters and called the disorder “disgraceful.” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the Gardai would fight back against “waves of ignorance and criminality.”
“Those involved have brought shame on Dublin, brought shame on Ireland and brought shame on their families and themselves,” Mr. Varadkar said. “This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be, and this is not who we will ever be.”
The clash on Thursday took place after the woman in her 30s and three young children were wounded in a knife attack shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Within hours a “riotous mob” had gathered at the crime scene and tried to break into the cordoned-off area, Commissioner Harris said. The disorder escalated after 5 p.m., he said, and the police deployed more resources.
A man in his 50s, also injured in the attack, was taken into custody, the police said on Thursday, adding that the motive for the incident was unclear and that they were keeping “an open mind” at this stage of the investigation.
Commissioner Harris said that the force would review its tactics on policing public disorder. But he pushed back at assertions that officers had failed to contain the unrest, adding that they could not have anticipated its intensity.