Belfast Telegraph

Summit protesters in short supply

Police far outnumbered protesters in Enniskillen on Sunday as the Co Fermanagh town geared up for the G8 summit.

Security was tight with patrols in the air, on the water and roadsides while just six people and a dog had set up at a makeshift camp for protesters.

There was a relaxed atmosphere at the Broad Meadow on the banks of the Erne where campaigners chatted openly with police who had brought them cups of coffee. By lunchtime on Sunday, just four tents had been erected on the playing fields which had been made available by Fermanagh District Council.

Anti-capitalist campaigner Ziggy believes many protesters have been put off travelling to Northern Ireland after he and others were evicted on Wednesday from a former police station off Regent Street, London, which was the headquarters of the anti-G8 campaign.

He said: "I have invited lots and lots of people but a lot of people are put off by the heavy policing in London. They were very shaken by what happened."

The 43-year-old, from Suffolk, said he was not expecting a campsite to be made available by the local council and had been surprised by the welcome.

He added: "We thought we would be in ditches. People can come and visit us here at the camp and we can get our message out. Some people are against the militarisation of the police.

"I think the Third World is never discussed or brought to the table at the G8. A lot of people feel G8 leaders sit at a walnut desk, far removed from the buttons they push."

Andrew Carnegie, 43, from Blackhill, Glasgow, was also at the camp with his son Darren and pet dog Grace, who accompanied him to the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005. Mr Carnegie said: "How can you sit in a luxury hotel and talk about poverty and world hunger? You need to camp somewhere like this and exhaust yourself as a protest. That is worthiness."

Police said they have been and continue to engage with some campaign groups and those seeking to influence or protest around the summit. "Our aim is to try and ensure the safety of all involved and we would seek to continue this engagement with any group planning to become involved with G8," a statement said. "Police would appeal to anyone wishing to come to Enniskillen to protest or campaign to contact police in order that we can work to facilitate peaceful activities."

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