Demonstrators hit streets of Dublin to protest against Donald Trump’s visit
Around 2,000 people filled the city centre, with the Trump baby blimp flying overhead.
Around 2,000 people have filled Dublin city centre in a noisy and colourful protest march against the visit of Donald Trump to Ireland.
The Trump baby blimp flew overhead as demonstrators left Ireland’s Garden of Remembrance for Dublin city centre.
Climate change, left-wing, pro-Palestine, pro-choice, anti-racism and anti-war activists mounted a rally after Mr Trump returned to Ireland following D-Day commemorations in France.
The scenes stood in contrast to the warm welcome the president has received in Doonbeg, Co Clare, a village that has experienced an economic boom since Mr Trump invested in its golf resort.
The president and First Lady Melania Trump are spending a second night at the luxury resort following his attendance at anniversary events in Normandy earlier on Thursday.
He hosted a dinner at Doonbeg on Thursday evening which was attended by Irish government officials and politicians reported to include Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly, Fine Gael TD and special envoy to Washington John Deasy and Irish ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall.
Left-wing Irish parliamentarian Richard Boyd Barrett heavily criticised Mr Trump in a fiery address to the rally in Dublin.
“He sows division and prejudice and hatred between men and women, between different races and cultures, between different identities, between different sexualities,” Mr Boyd Barrett claimed.
“He is poison at every level to our world and to our future, and he must be stopped.”
Protesters marched past Dublin’s historic General Post Office, scene of the Easter Rising in 1916, on the main artery of O’Connell Street and raised their voices to urge the US President to go home.
A local Irish police officer estimated around 2,000 people took part in the demonstration.
Earlier, a much smaller number of activists maintained their two-day vigil outside Shannon Airport as Mr Trump flew out and in of a facility regularly used by the US military.
Campaigners claim the use of the airport as a refuelling stop for US military aircraft flying to and from operations in the Middle East is a breach of Ireland’s neutrality.
There have been altogether different scenes in and around Doonbeg, where local people have been overwhelmingly positive about Mr Trump’s visit.
On Wednesday night, two of his sons visited a number of pubs in the village, pulling pints for local revellers.
Eric and Donald Jnr chatted with several villagers and posed for selfies with children.
They received loud cheers after asking: “Does Doonbeg love Trump?”
On Thursday, Eric tweeted: “Ireland, thank you for the incredible support! We love you!”
Ahead of travelling to France, the president tweeted: “Heading over to Normandy to celebrate some of the bravest that ever lived. We are eternally grateful.”
During a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar shortly after arrival on Ireland’s west coast on Wednesday, Mr Trump drew a parallel with his planned wall between the United States and Mexico as he expressed confidence the Brexit logjam over the Irish border would work out “very well”.
At the start of a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach at Shannon Airport, Mr Trump said Brexit could be “very, very good for Ireland”.
The president agreed the current free-flowing Irish border should be preserved.
The Trump family visit has prompted a massive security operation in west Co Clare.
A ring of steel has been erected around the five-star Doonbeg resort.
Around 3km of barriers and 3km of 6ft-high fencing have been put in place for the visit.
Some 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.