Thousands march against austerity measures

Monday 29 November 2010 11.40
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Leinster House - Around 400 protestors gathered on Kildare Street
Leinster House - Around 400 protestors gathered on Kildare Street
Leinster House - Masked protestors outside Dáil
Leinster House - Masked protestors outside Dáil
Dublin - Opposition to EU/IMF rescue package
Dublin - Opposition to EU/IMF rescue package
Dublin - Anger at Government's management of the economy
Dublin - Anger at Government's management of the economy
Dublin - Marchers gathered in the freezing city centre
Dublin - Marchers gathered in the freezing city centre
Dublin - Groups calling for general strike
Dublin - Groups calling for general strike
Dublin - Gardaí are expecting a peaceful protest
Dublin - Gardaí are expecting a peaceful protest
Dublin - March has reached O'Connell Street
Dublin - March has reached O'Connell Street
Groups gather at Leinster House - To let their views be known
Groups gather at Leinster House - To let their views be known
Demonstrators - Gather on Molesworth St Dublin
Demonstrators - Gather on Molesworth St Dublin

Thousands of people have marched in protest against the introduction of spending cuts and tax increases by the Government.

Gardaí said that around 10,000 people started the march, however the crowd swelled to around 50,000 people as it moved down the quays.

Speakers at the march had estimated that the crowd was between 100,000 and 150,000.

A small group of around 400 protestors gathered outside Leinster House after the main rally had ended.

Bangers were lit and thrown among the gardaí along with snowballs and eggs. Some of the protestors were wearing masks and a poster with a picture of Brian Cowen on it was set on fire.

Kildare Street was closed to traffic for a short while, but many of the protestors have now left and the street has been re-opened.

Gardaí said no arrests were made.

The earlier protest on O'Connell Street was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which maintains the austerity measures are unfair and too harsh.

ICTU General Secretary David Begg said nobody could believe that the country could afford to pay 6.7% interest to pay for money that Ireland did not want to bailout the banks.

Other speakers included SIPTU President Jack O'Connor, while singers Christy Moore and Frances Black performed.

Mr O'Connor said people had turned out to assert the rights of the citizens of Ireland to decide the future of Ireland.

Journalist and author Fintan O'Toole told the marchers that people had gathered outside the GPO to reclaim a sense of citizenship.

He said that as the fate of our country is being decided, it is a case of mind over matter.

'They don't mind, and we don't matter. Our rulers have no shame, and they believe we have no voice,' said Mr O'Toole.

Marchers assembled behind the banners of their unions, including SIPTU, IMPACT, UNITE, TUI and TEEU. Other groups taking part in the march include the new United Left Alliance.

March organisers provided whistles to many of the demonstrators to use as a way to protest.

Three demonstrators took to the Liffey in a curragh and flew banners in support of the marchers.

As the main march came to a close, an alliance of left-wing groups assembled at the O'Connell monument.

They were addressed by speakers including Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett, Cllr Louise Minihan and MEP Joe Higgins.

Mr Higgins said the bills of bankers and developers are being handed to the Irish working class and he called for a nationwide strike to say we will not pay.

Mr Boyd Barrett called for people to 'lay siege' to the Dáil on Budget day and to demand their unions embark on a general strike.

Gardaí said the protest passed off peacefully.

Chambers Ireland stressed that Dublin city centre would be open to business, but warned the march would do nothing to maintain jobs.