Friday 24 November 2017

Protesters welcomed by friendly arm of law

Greg Harkin

The first of the G8 protesters set up camp in Enniskillen last night, but found their bid to spread news of their protest blocked on Facebook.

A dozen tents with around 20 protesters were first to set up stall in the grounds of the town's Lakeland Forum leisure centre.

"I haven't been able to post anything since I got here on Thursday," said Andrew Carnegie, a veteran G8 protester who arrived in Fermanagh on Friday with his son Darren.

"So it's been difficult spreading the word because there's all these reports about security and when you get here it is very, very relaxed.

"The police have been extremely friendly and very helpful, so for peaceful protesters like me it has been good."

The 43-year-old Glasgow artist was just one of four campers by late afternoon.

Activists from Dublin, who wouldn't give their names, spent the day using Twitter, pointing out that the local council in Enniskillen had provided water, toilets and shower facilities yesterday.

Among the early arrivals was Ziggy Norton (43), from Suffolk. He was caught up in last week's protests in London when police there raided a squat.

"That was very frightening," said the anti-capitalist campaigner, "but here, the atmosphere has been very good.

"I came across on the ferry on Saturday. I just find it incredible that the world's most powerful leaders will be up the road from here this week, and there will be no attention whatsoever on the deaths of millions of children through hunger."

Thousands of police are on duty in and around the Lough Erne Golf Resort ahead of today's summit.

"But we are having more problems with the midges than any protesters," said one PSNI officer.

"We've been issued with jungle anti-midgey stuff and it's doing the trick so far."

There's a 'friendly' strategy from the police. Liaison officers wearing purple bibs called to the camp every 10 minutes "just to say hello" as other armed officers patrolled the nearby Erne.

But local people have left, said veteran trade union activist and civil rights campaigner Charlie McClintock.

"People have been frightened off from staying here and people have been frightened off from coming here," he claimed.

"We know of local people who have been involved in organising this week's protests who have had visits from PSNI officers to their homes and places of work asking about their intentions.

The biggest crowd on Sunday was at nearby Brewster Park for the Ulster senior football clash between Fermanagh and Cavan.

Fermanagh supporter Sean Quinn Snr was among the crowd which saw the visitors win by 11 points to nine in a dour encounter.

Bus loads of protesters will arrive in Enniskillen this morning to take part in an afternoon march.

Security restrictions were brought in last night on the eve of the arrival of the G8 leaders.

The M2 motorway into Belfast will be closed for two hours as US President Barack Obama visits the city.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News