What happened at Grafton Street?

On Saturday 27th February 2021, thousands gathered in Dublin to protest against the authoritarian regime they have been forced to live under for 12 months. A few protesters had a different idea of how the day should go.

On Saturday the 27th February, I was contacted by one of my longest “followers” on Twitter seeking help in facially identifying the person who has now become known as the “Rocketman”.

A grainy video surfaced online showing a man wearing a creamy/white coloured hoodie shooting fireworks straight into the faces of Garda. In doing so this person unintentionally injured a member of the public who mattered to this “follower” in question. I agreed I would take a look and if I could identify the person, and I deemed it appropriate, I would help out. Everything has a context and I needed to firstly ascertain what that context was in this instance.

It soon became clear to me that “Rocketman” spent a lot of his time trying to antagonise police and wind up the crowd in an attempt to instigate violent clashes. So with the context established, I agreed to help. During the process, I would also identify another person who too was trying his best to get some violence started. At one stage he would chase after and kick a Garda before fleeing into the crowd, but not before I spotted his antics.

I have also been contacted by several people telling me they believe these men to be everything from “far-right extremists” to “far-left activists” to “Garda agent-provocateurs”. I cannot comment on any of these allegations because I simply don’t know and therefore it is outside the remit of this investigation.

Below I will lay out how I established the identities of the “Rocketman” and the “CopKicker”.

the investigation

This is where it began for me. This video was posted to Twitter showing a guy in a creamy coloured hoodie with a firework in his hand that was being lit by a young boy. The man would then go on to fire the rockets at the Garda.

Oddly, my focus was immediately drawn to another person in the crowd and away from “Rocketman”, but I’ll come back to that. The next step was to gather all the footage I could get of the day and begin to sift through it. I quickly found footage of someone resembling the “Rocketman” in terms of dress code. Blue jeans, creamy/white coloured hoodie and dark shoes.

Here is the video the stills are taken from.

At this stage, there wasn’t enough to conclude that the bottle-thrower was the “Rocketman”, but I had a line of enquiry to follow now and also had a good facial image to work with.

Then I was sent this picture on Twitter that was taken from a longer YouTube video that I’ve since analysed.

There are some solid similarities now starting to present themselves.

  1. Similar hoodies
  2. Both wearing dark coloured T-Shirt
  3. Similar haircuts with apparent ‘wet-look-styling’
  4. Similar ear shape
  5. Both clean shaven etc

After verifying minute details, that I won’t go into here, I felt there was now enough evidence for me to conclude, confidently, these two images were of the same person. But OK, I found someone who lobbed a bottle at the cops, but was he the “Rocketman”?

He certainly was.

Here he is from behind, lighting the fireworks. Black shoes, blue jeans, a black t-shirt, white hoodie.

There are many other similarities but I feel the evidence provided is strong enough for this article. (Should any further analytical details be required, they can be provided on request.)

the cop kicker

As previously mentioned. When I first viewed the rocket attack video I was drawn to someone else rather than the “Rocketman” himself, and it was this guy.

What made him stand out initially is that he looked similarly dressed to the person who lit the firework, whom we now know to have been a kid thus a different person.

Kid that lit the firework

But before I had worked out they were different people, I decided to watch and track his movements. He would soon go on to chase down and kick a Garda.

The person in question is the guy in a grey hoodie, black Adidas bomber jacket and white trainers, to the right of “Rocketman”.

After the rockets were fired he goes out of shot for a few seconds before returning as he waits for the cops to run past.

When they do, he re-enters the frame, chases after the cop in the green box and kicks him.

Here’s the video of the incident slowed down.

He then runs back into the crowd on the left and disappears.

I would soon come across this same person in other footage trying his best to use the occasion to start a conflict with the cops. I will show two others.

As the guy on the microphone shouts “Blessed are the peace-makers” the cop kicker runs straight up to Garda lines and hurls a plastic barrier at them.

Not content at the lack of reaction, he then goes on to throw a bottle towards them.

Here we have a close-up. Note “Rocketman” to his left trying to fire up the crowd.

summary

My reason for writing this article is simple. Many thousands of people took the streets of Dublin yesterday to make known their frustrations and anger at having their freedoms removed and being locked up at home for the best part of a year. Their protest was authentic and justified and I support it, and them, 100%.

The establishment looks for any reason to discredit such protests and will actively try to do from the outset. Therefore what you don’t do is hand them all the excuses they need to drown out the cries of the people.

When instead it should have been scenes like this that were written about.

What imagery do you think the media ran with? Media love anger, rage, hurt, sorry and pain. Like vultures, they feed of it. It’s their lifeblood. They hate happiness, positivity, love and togetherness. Give them any excuse at all, no matter how tiny, and they’ll be delighted to turn a well-intentioned gathering into a story about ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘far-right extremists’.

Whilst I appreciate there is a lot of anger in societies throughout the world and I don’t doubt for a second the Garda have themselves been heavy-handed on occasions (I am not attempting to apologise for them) what you don’t do is use an important occasion, with families and kids in attendance, to tease them into responding with force. That is what they want you to do for the reasons outlined above; such scenes will distract from the message of the day.

I too am very frustrated with what’s going on. I see the measures being put in place as huge overreactions by politicians that have been scared into submission by radical scientists who have their agendas. I sympathise with everyone who has and is suffering because of the totalitarian regimes we are living under. I’ve spent the past year fighting for restrictions to be lifted, fighting in defence of the kids and elderly and trying to hold power to account in Northern Ireland. The one thing they’d love me to do; the one thing that would destroy all that hard work would be for me to resort to violence at a protest.

Don’t play into the hands of the establishment at this time. They hate peaceful protests. They want a reason to paint such protests as ‘small, fringe groups of radicals’. What happened at Grafton Street yesterday was deplorable, dangerous, and overshadowed the efforts of the thousands of men, women and children that took to the streets to say, “Enough. Give us our lives back.”

To the rioters I say this – I feel your anger and your frustrations. But redirect those energies to get your message out in a productive manner.

The actions of the two men in this article are not reflective of the overall pro-freedom movement. The movement they let down so badly yesterday.

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