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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Right2water protest goes off peacefully as thousands gathered for Dublin rally

David Kearns

Published 20/02/2016 | 13:09

The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Right2Water demonstration in Dublin this afternoon Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Organisers for today's rally say that some 10,000 people attended Credit: People Before Profit

Thousands anti-water charges protesters marched through the capital this afternoon, the last Right2Water demonstrations ahead of next week's general election.

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Demonstrators from all over the country travelled to Dublin's city centre to join over 100 election candidates marching in opposition to water charges.

A number of banners carried during the march from Parnell Square to College Green showed support from anti-water groups from as far away as Cork, Limerick and Louth.

Even a group of protesters carrying a Bolivian flag was spotted among those protesting this afternoon.

"Bolivia-Ireland Solidarity. We did it in 2000, you can do it now - Defeat Water Charges," their sign read.

Under the banner “Another Ireland is Possible”, thousands assembled at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin’s city centre ahead of 2pm “in memory of those who died for a fair Ireland”.

Unite official and Right2Water/Right2Change coordinator Brendan Ogle said Saturday's event represented an "unprecedented show of determination and unity".

"For the first time in our history, people are being offered the opportunity to vote for a real alternative - to vote for change," he claimed.

"I have no doubt that they will seize that opportunity on polling day.

"Estimates from Gardaí place the number of protesters involved in today's march at between 10,000 to 20,000 although the figures have not been confirmed. Organisers said the figure was much higher.

Anti-water charges campaigners at Saturday's Right2Water demonstration in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Anti-water charges campaigners at Saturday's Right2Water demonstration in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Anti-water charges campaigner at Saturday's Right2Water demonstration in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Activists taking part in a Right2Water demonstration in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Anti-water charges campaigners at Saturday's Right2Water demonstration in Dublin Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí said that no incidents were reported and that the protest march was "quite peaceful."

"It went off without a hitch as far as we are concerned."Marchers set off from Parnell Square shortly after 2pm and walked down O'Connell St and across to the South Quays towards Christchurch before turning left onto Dame St and assembling at College Green.

The demonstration caused widespread traffic disruptions and Dublin Bus was forced to put in place more than two dozen diversions to keep its commuter routes open.

AA Roadwatch are still warning motorists to expect delays in the city centre, and are reporting that it is slow going southbound on O'Connell St.There are also delays on the North Quays and Westmorland St coming in from Ellis Quay and Bachelors Walk.

Right2Water say today's efforts, the last anti-water charges demonstrations ahead of the general election, was supported by Sinn Féin, People Before Profit Alliance, The Workers Party and a number of other left wing groups and independents.

Posting ahead of the today's protest march, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams wrote that the 'Right2Change' campaign, which grew from the Right2Water movement, offered a realistic alternative to the politics of the past."

“Enda Kenny wants to be returned to power to continue his austerity policies and his chaotic management of the health service.

There is a better way to govern our society. To build a fair recovery and a better Ireland," he said.

Right2Change calls not only for the abolition of Irish Water but for Governmental commitments on housing, employment, health and public debt.

Those behind today's protest march in Dublin say that over 500,000 people have attended similar Right2Water protests since they first begin in November 2014.

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