Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's first yellow vest protest to take place in Belfast

A yellow vest protest is taking place in Belfast. (Francisco Seco/AP)
A yellow vest protest is taking place in Belfast. (Francisco Seco/AP)
Victoria Leonard

By Victoria Leonard

Northern Ireland's first yellow vest protest will take place at Belfast City Hall today, with hundreds of people indicating they will turn up to support the event.

More than 400 people have marked themselves as attending the rally, organised by the left-wing Yellow Vest Occupy Belfast, on the group's social media page.

And a further 1,600 people have indicated that they are interested.

Among the group's aims are an end to cuts to public services and zero hour contracts, as well as equal marriage rights.

The left-wing protest comes a week before a rival right-wing event is due to take place outside City Hall.

The second protest, by an organisation calling itself the Yellow Vest Movement of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is planned for January 19.

That group has been criticised for exhibiting far-right sympathies on its social media page.

One of the organisers of today's event, Calum Cowie (23), previously told the Belfast Telegraph how his group rejected a proposal to hold a joint demonstration with the other group in order to prevent the event being hijacked by extremists.

"We don't want anyone from the far-right to turn up at our event. It's a non-violent, peaceful protest," he said.

On Wednesday, People Before Profit MLA for West Belfast Gerry Carroll posted a video on social media urging people to attend today's event. He said: "The protest has been called in solidarity with the yellow vest movement in France and across the world.

"People will know and have seen the pictures and footage of people in France standing up against Macron's, the French president's, attacks on public services and his attempts to make ordinary people pay to tackle climate change. What the people in France have said is the rich, the corporations, should be forced to pay taxes to save our planet.

"The protest on Saturday at City Hall is calling for marriage equality, it is calling for an end to the attacks on the NHS and the public sector more generally.

"It is calling for an end to things like welfare reform and a whole list of other demands."

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