Irish anti-lockdown groups are using Telegram to organise protests and promote conspiracy theories

Irish anti-lockdown groups are using Telegram to organise protests and promote conspiracy theories

A number of private online groups are calling for nationwide protests to demand an end to the lockdown in Ireland. Using the encrypted messaging service Telegram, the groups contain hundreds of members.

And in screenshots seen by The Beacon, the content ranges from dismissal of the dangers of the COVID-19 virus to promotion of conspiracy theories.

Online organising

The parent group on Telegram goes by the name End lock down Ireland. It contains over 200 members and is administered by the user Elisthan. 

In a post they relate that “Organising decentralized protests in one nationwide group has turned out to be impossible”. And it is this which gave rise to the four groups for each of the provinces. Elisthan states that as a result, “it will be much [sic] much easier to organize protests”.

In a post shared to the other groups, Elisthan appealed to users to step up their “recruitment efforts”. They called on them to “talk to people” in order to “open their eyes” and “Make them see the light”. Going further, they asked for group members to:

Get up and start recruiting and get people to join our cause and our Telegram groups. We are not too far off of having sufficient numbers for a proper protest for all four provinces.

Elisthan declared that “we need to mobilize NOW [sic]” in order to “Help us free Ireland”.

Organising across Ireland

The Beacon has also learned of four other organising groups which are offshoots of End lock down Ireland. The groups are dedicated to organising according to province, with groups existing for Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. And all of them, like the parent group are calling for the government to end the lockdown in Ireland.

In response to a comment that the lockdown wasn’t needed one user proclaimed that: 

The media fear mongering [sic] has worked so well that people are afraid to go out.

When asked if a protest is due to be held in Munster one of the administrators, Aingeal, replied:

Our protest will take place in the near future when we have sufficient members. For now we need to get our numbers up and be ready

Conspiracy theories and racism

Links to videos and memes around the topic of migration have also been shared. Some of the content relates to the what’s know as the “Great Replacement”. This conspiracy theory, favoured by the far right, pushes the idea that there is a plot involving global elites, in league with the UN and NGOs, who are attempting to eliminate white people via mass immigration.

One user, although disagreeing with this content being posted in the group because it was off-topic, agreed with the ideas. They wrote that they “believe that the irish [sic] people are being treated like second class [sic] citizens in our own country”. 

In response, another member of the group opined:

The migration agenda is very real and is linked to the control programme that convid [sic] is part of

The user M3L also agreed, saying “There is a war on whites”. And evidence of this can be seen “in the liberal media worldwide”. 

Others posted content about the pandemic, which has killed 1,518 people in Ireland so far, not being legitimate. Instead, they believe it is part of a “psychological operation” to apparently manipulate the wider population. 

“Leveraging” the pandemic

A recently published study has shown that extremists are seeking to “leverage” the pandemic and are using Telegram groups to do so. According to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), extremists are attempting “to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to the benefit of their radical causes”.

CEP revealed that various groups based on Telegram have spread conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus. Included in this are anti-Semitic and Islamophobic conspiracy theories blaming Jewish and Muslim people for the pandemic. Added to this:

Other channels encouraged spreading anti-Asian racism, encouraged recruitment within the context of the economic crisis, and have spread misinformation regarding martial law and firearms confiscations.

It also highlighted comments made by the leader of the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), Simon Lindberg. 

In a blogpost he wrote that the effects of the pandemic could provide an opportunity for his group. He related his “great excitement” about fact that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic could “lead to a ‘national uprising’”. 

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has also highlighted how the far right is attempting to use the pandemic to recruit new followers and spread its message. In a report published in April it stated that COVID-19 “has been seized by far-right groups as an opportunity to call for extreme violence”.

And in some case the same groups have called for direct attacks on hospitals. 

Featured image via Flickr – Microsiervos

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One thought on “Irish anti-lockdown groups are using Telegram to organise protests and promote conspiracy theories

  1. Perhaps all of this ongoing debate around conspiracy theory is a very necessary process.
    A recently published UK Gov. Report states that currently in Northern Ireland 2020 the incidence of children diagnosed with Autism stands at 4.2% , and 1 in 4 children today are presenting with some form of neurodevelopmental disability.
    Autism is an Immune Mediated Disorder.
    Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, (HIE) Mitochondrial dysfunction with resultant innate immune system compromise and suppression + current full schedule of immunizations, = Regressive degenerative brain disease , demyelination.
    1 child in 24.8 today injured because the Government have yet to fully devise, develop and implement an effective post natal screening protocol to identify this particularly vulnerable cohort of infants at definate increased risk of Serious Life Threatening secondary injury from a publically promoted Public Health Measure which to date has not been fully tested and evaluated for its particular impact on this already vulnerable sector of society. Thus it leads to the development of secondary injury and death in exceptional cases. SID.
    HSE state clearly on their publically available literature and I quote ” Do not administer Live Virus Vaccinations to persons (infants/children adults) with known immune system compromise and suppression”.
    The innately compromised and contraindicated.
    So to debate the Introduction of Mandatory Immunization and a Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme is gravely inappropriate until an effective screening protocol prior to commencment and administration of any pharmacutically developed medical product, namely Vaccines is first introduced.
    Otherwise, it is a gross failure in the States ‘Duty of Care’ to this particular already vulnerable sector of society and a grave injustice.

    Statements like “Benefit outweigh Risk” and “Association is Not Causation” just do not cut it anymore. We are in the grips of a very real and frightening Global Pandemic and sadly the CDC in the USA have identified Autistic children as a particular group at increased risk of serious complications from the virulence and potency of the current Covid 19 virus because of systemic weakness, vulnerability and innate Immune system irregularities.

    Maybe the time for action and radical change is fast approaching.

    With respect,

    From a mother of a Birth Injured and subsequently Vaccine Injured Child who is certainly not an ‘Anti-vaxxer’ , but a person who seeks better regulation and proper appropriate scientifically based investigation on safety and efficacy testing, prior to its introduction as a Public Health Measure, designed to give added protection to us all. But especially the most vulnerable members of our collective society.

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