Anger as 20,000 abortion activists go head-to-head
Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30
Thousands of abortion campaigners from both sides of the debate brought Dublin to a standstill yesterday.
As many as 20,000 Pro-Life supporters gathered to march as part of the campaign's largest annual event on O'Connell Street.
The theme of this year's 'Rally for Life' - organised by Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Precious Youth - is "Every Life Matters" and focuses on rights for unborn babies with disabilities.
Meanwhile, a few hundred Pro-Choice activists gathered as part of a counter protest at the Spire on O'Connell Street.
Although the rallies began peacefully, the mood quickly changed as both sides came into proximity. Chants became louder and the atmosphere became more tense.
At least one scuffle occurred between a Pro-Life campaigner and a Pro-Choice campaigner. Despite the fracas, a strong Garda presence actively patrolled the area and a Garda spokesperson said "it appeared to be a generally peaceful protest and no arrests were made".
The Pro-Life demonstrators eventually walked past the Pro-Choice rally in front of the GPO.
Speakers at the Rally for Life included people with disabilities and their families.
Kevin Trainer, who has Down Syndrome, travelled from Louth to attend the rally. His mother Anne said: "It breaks my heart to read that more than 90pc of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in Britain. We don't want Ireland to follow this example".
Pro-Choice lobbyists say they organised an opposing rally to show Pro-Life protesters "do not represent the majority view" and to stand in solidarity with women who have made the choice.