Belfast Telegraph

Thousands join water charge rallies

Thousands of anti-water charge protesters have brought town and city centres to a standstill in up to 20 nationwide demonstrations.

Events took place in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo and Waterford, with organisers claiming around 20,000 people had participated in Dublin alone.

An estimated crowd of about 3,500 took to the streets in Cork and in Limerick protesters unfurled a banner which read "We won't pay" above the 13th century King John's Castle.

The main march through the capital caused traffic disruptions and there were s cuffles when a group of demonstrators broke away and tried to gain entry to Leinster House.

There were reports of pushing and shoving and a flare being fired, but gardai told reporters they were satisfied with how the event had proceeded.

The main actions were promoted by the DublinSaysNo campaign, members of which have been involved in some of the more militant protests to have taken place.

One of the most outspoken members of the opposition group was recorded at a school in Finglas over a week ago shouting insults at President Michael D Higgins over the water charges controversy.

In one remark a man was heard shouting "midget parasite" as the President left.

The Right2Water campaign, which spearheaded the mass rally in Dublin late last year when more than 100,000 people took to the streets, had urged members of the public to attend the latest protests.

However, it distanced itself from the organisers.

In a statement, the campaign said: "The campaign against these unjust water charges continues. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets all over the country, and wrung significant concessions from the Government.

"But as we said at the time - people marched for abolition, not concessions."

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