Gardaí were ordered to leave a water charges protest because some of them were armed, the trial of seven men accused of falsely imprisoning former tánaiste Joan Burton has heard.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and six other men are charged with falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell during a water charges protest in Jobstown in Tallaght.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on 15 November 2014, as the tánaiste was attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosán Centre.

Paul Murphy, Dublin councillors Kieran Mahon and Michael Murphy, and four other men deny the charges.

Brian O'Connor told Dublin District Court that he took up a position around the unmarked patrol car the women were sitting in which was surrounded by protesters.

He said he saw eggs and water balloons being thrown and said he was being pulled and dragged by people who were trying to get him out of the way so they could bang on the car.

He told Conor McKenna BL, defending Paul Murphy, that this took place around six times while he was at the car.

Mr McKenna put it to him that in his official statement, Gda O'Connor had said he "constantly had people dragging and pulling out of me" and that this was incorrect.

Counsel said: "I put it to you that not only was it not constant, it didn't happen".

The witness said it did happen, and said he would not be giving it in evidence if it did not.

Gda O’Connor also described how gardaí formed a human cordon from the car to escort Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell to a nearby Garda Jeep.

He said that when the women began moving through this cordon around 50 protesters ran towards it.

"It was highly aggressive. They were running in and pulling at us. I was hit. They were trying to remove the two lines, in my opinion," he said. It took around 30 seconds to get the women into the Jeep, he added.

He said that as protesters surrounded the Jeep it became "chaotic".

"You were being pushed around. You couldn't stand still. I was being punched continually. It was from behind so I couldn't see who was doing it," he testified.

He said he left around this time because an order was issued to all plain clothes gardaí to leave the scene.

He said the reason for this was because there were some armed gardaí present.

He said later that evening there was a "giving out" or venting session by gardaí in a conference room at the Plaza hotel in Tallaght.

He said he himself was not impressed by what had happened on the day and said he felt that garda members were not protected enough.

He told Michael O'Higgins SC, defending Ken Purcell, that he could not remember exactly what was said but it was possible that somebody criticised how gardaí had managed the situation.

"We were covered with water, eggs, we were out there for three hours taking serious abuse," he said.

The defendants are: Solidarity TD, Paul Murphy, 34, from Kingswood Heights, Tallaght; Councillor Michael Murphy, 53, from Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden in Dublin; Councillor Kieran Mahon, 39, from Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght; Scott Masterson, 34, from Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght; Frank Donaghy, 71, from Alpine Rise, Tallaght; Michael Banks, 46, Brookview Green, Tallaght; and Ken Purcell, 50, from Kiltalown Green, also in Tallaght.