Around 300 people have taken part in an anti-racism protest in Co Offaly which was addressed by speakers highlighting racism and calling for an end to the direct provision system.

The 'Black Lives Matter' solidarity protest took place as planned in Tullamore despite calls for its cancellation by local politicians due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organiser Aoise O'Dwyer said she was "absolutely delighted" with the attendance.

"We knew we had support but we're blown over by the numbers," she said in the immediate aftermath of the protest.

She said organisers "hadn't been tempted" to call the demonstration off despite the appeals by local councillors during the week to cancel it due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Most in the crowd, mainly composed of young people, worse face masks and social distancing guidelines were observed.

A discreet Garda presence was mounted at the side of O'Connor Square but there were no incidents.

The organisers of a second anti-racism protest, scheduled to take place on the streets of Longford town today, have announced they are going ahead with the event despite calls for it to be deferred. 

The protest march was initially planned for last weekend but was cancelled last Saturday after organisers said they did not want the event to be in any way divisive, given the concern in the local community over the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and social distance restrictions.