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G8 protest turns to farce in battle to catch last bus

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Father-Ted inspired protesters

Father-Ted inspired protesters

Father-Ted inspired protesters

MILITANTS who stormed a G8 barricade to get inside the security zone at the summit in Co Fermanagh left again after just 20 minutes – after they were told their buses would leave without them.

The anti-capitalist groups left the main march in Enniskillen last night as socialist Joe Higgins was making his speech.

They trampled down over razor wire and ran into a field where they were faced by dozens of armed PSNI officers carrying riot gear and shields.

Police loudspeaker announcements warned the 200 protesters that they would be arrested if they failed to leave the area.

But it wasn't those threats that ended the incursion.

Organisers using their own loudspeaker system announced that buses to Omagh, Derry and Belfast were about to leave without them. And as quick as the invasion began, it was over.

"The revolution is over," joked one observer, "you can't have a revolution when there are buses waiting."

Some of the protesters were dressed in orange prison overalls and waved Palestinian flags during the brief stand-off.

In Enniskillen today, local people are looking forward to a return to normality after a massive police operation virtually shut down the area.

TD Richard Boyd-Barrett was very critical of the "hype" surrounding the security at the summit.

"It was clearly designed to intimidate protesters and prevent them from travelling to Fermanagh," he claimed.

Around 1,000 protesters took part in last night's march, which was peaceful.

As the G8 leaders prepare to leave Ireland this evening, activists at the smallest ever anti-G8 camp were preparing to leave.

"It has been a wonderful experience to be here in Ireland and be able to take part in a peaceful protest," said Andrew Carnegie, a protester from Glasgow.

"The police here were brilliant throughout and really looked after us. We never wanted any violence and we're glad it has all been peaceful.

"We just wish the leaders of this world would listen to what ordinary people want."

Police were surprised by the relatively small number of protesters who made the trip.

downsizing

The Unite union's regional general secretary, Jimmy Kelly, said the march was still important, despite the low turn-out.

Earlier US president Barack Obama and British prime minister David Cameron visited an integrated primary school in Enniskillen. The US and UK leaders first met a group of around a dozen pupils.

"Hello, everybody," the president said.

"Good afternoon Mr President and Mr Prime Minister," the children answered. Mr Obama asked the pupils if they had "any sense of what we're going to be talking about".

Various children raised their hands. "World hunger," one said.

The president replied: "World hunger is one topic."

Another said: "Poverty."

The president replied: "Poverty, as well, and how we can alleviate poverty and make sure young people like you are getting educations around the world."

hnews@herald.ie


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