An Irish man rammed his truck through the gates of the Russian embassy in Dublin on Monday in protest of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine — earning cheers from onlookers.
Desmond Wisley, a businessman from County Leitrim in the north of Ireland, was arrested for criminal damage and remained in custody following the incident, according to The Irish Times. He’s expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
Video of the incident shared online shows the back of a delivery truck smashing through the front gates of the embassy to cheers of “Bravo” and “Good man” from protesters holding signs outside of the gates around 1:30 p.m. No one was injured.
Wiley can be seen exiting the truck and handing out fliers with photos of what he said were Russian atrocities in Ukraine.
“I just done this to create a safe corridor for the Russian ambassador to leave Ireland,” he said, referring to Yuri Filatov, who has held the position since 2017.
“I want the bastard and his colleagues to leave this country, leave this free country and go back to calling where there’s no freedom,” Wiley told the small crowd in the clip, motioning towards the embassy.
“It’s about time we stood up,” he continued. “We’re all sleeping on our couches, cozy in our own houses and we have to do something.”
“I’m a working man and this is my contribution today and I’m glad I’ve done it.”
A female Gardaí officer then approaches Wiley, who showed her his flier explaining why he did it.
“I have to arrest you now unfortunately for dangerous driving,” she told him.
As the officer leads him away, uncuffed, Wiley declares: “I’ve done my bit lads. It’s about time Ireland does theirs.”
The Russian embassy initially responded by claiming that Ireland had violated international law for allowing the incident to happen as law enforcement “stood idle.”
“The embassy strongly condemns this criminal act of insanity directed against a peaceful diplomatic mission,” a spokeswoman said in a statement to The Irish Times. “The embassy views this incident as a clear and blatant violation of the article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations of 1961.”
“The incident is cause of extreme concern. We believe that no people of sound mind could support such senseless and barbaric actions,” the spokeswoman said.
The embassy took a lighter tone in a follow-up statement released, saying it appreciated the assistance of Irish authorities.
“We would like to inform that additional measures have been undertaken by the Garda to ensure safety and security of the embassy and its personnel,” the embassy said.“The embassy appreciates cooperation by the Irish authorities in this matter.”
Law enforcement put up protective barriers in front of the embassy on Monday night. The embassy has been the site of daily protests since Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine 12 days ago.
According to The Times, protesters have repeatedly thrown red paint at the embassy entrance and spray-painted phrases such as “Nazis”, “Blood on your hands” and “F—k Russia” on the exterior.
Last week, Filatov accused Irish protesters of being “rough and really aggressive,” and accused Ireland of being on the front lines of “anti-Russian events” in the European Union, The Times reported.