So after all the hype about demonstrators converging on Enniskillen. the protest against the G8 summit taking place at the Lough Erne resort outside Enniskillen passed off without major incident. The crowd was nothing like the 3000 forecast, although up to 2000 (a conservative estimate on my part) had marched through the town centre before proceeding the two miles or so out to the steel barrier fence which had been erected to prevent unauthorised access to the summit. By then the numbers had dwindled to less than 1000.
At the end of the rally at the police outer cordon, a small number of protesters briefly crossed the outer wire perimeter but were warned not to proceed any further by a string of riot police who had assembled beyond the hedge in the next field.
It probably did not disturb the G8 leaders from the United States (President Barack Obama), UK (Prime Minister David Cameron), France (President François Hollande), Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel), Italy (Prime Minister Enrico Letta), Japan (Prime Minister Shinzō Abe), Russia (President Vladimir Putin) and Canada (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) are taking part in the summit and they were joined this afternoon by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Chair of the Irish Presidency of the European Council, due to end shortly.
Groups protesting against fracking in Fermanagh and the border counties, tax evasion and world hunger took part in a mainly good-natured six-mile G8 Not Welcome march. Dozens of onlookers stood in shop fronts and at doors in the town centre as the demonstrators passed by. A number of republican groups took part including the IRSP, Éirígí and the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association. This latter group paraded past the war memorial, where eleven people were killed in an IRA bomb in November 1987, carrying tricolours and shouting slogans including “Brits out, Brits out now”. The same happened as they walked past the courthouse on East Bridge Street. A complete contrast to the dignity shown when Enda Kenny laid a laurel wreath on Remembrance Sunday last year and former Irish soldiers including a colour party with the Irish flag from the ONE Tanagh branch in Co.Monaghan joined members of the Royal British Legion in a parade after a service at St Macartin’s Cathedral.
Trade unionists were among those who walked the three miles around the town and then out the Belleek road. I bumped into (literally!) Mary Cahillane from the Socialist Party. I walked for a time alongside my #NUJ colleagues from the Derry and North West branch, among them Anton McCabe (Secretary), Darach McDonald who has some great pictures on his Frontier Post blog and Eamonn McCann from Derry, who was one of the speakers at the rally. Dublin photographer Paula Geraghty was busy working on a video.
Other participants and speakers included the Unite union regional secretary Jimmy Kelly, People before Profit TD from Dún Laoghaire, Richard Boyd-Barrett, Socialist Party TD for Dublin West Joe Higgins and a local anti-fracking campaigner Claire Falconer, an artist.