25 February 2006

Officers injured in Dublin riot


Unionists have already staged a similar event in Belfast

Several police officers have been injured in a worsening riot situation in the centre of Dublin.

Disturbances broke out ahead of a unionist rally in the city.

Stones and other missiles have been thrown after republican demonstrators mounted a counter-march. The rally has now been halted.

Gardai and republicans have been involved in skirmishes in O'Connell Street and unionists are penned in at Parnell Square.

The demonstrators said they would "not allow a loyalist march to pass". A number of demonstrators have also been injured.

Republicans have been throwing missiles at police in riot gear.

It is understood the counter-march was organised by Republican Sinn Fein - a political party which broke away from Sinn Fein in the 1980s.

Sinn Fein have maintained they are in no way involved in the violence.

Up to 1,000 people had been expected to take part in the rally to remember those affected by republican violence.

DUP and Ulster Unionist politicians are among those hoping to parade through the centre of the city, in a march organised by the victims group Fair.

'Not simply airbrushed'

A delegation will also meet the Republic's Justice Minister, Michael McDowell.

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy said it was important their message was heard.

"We want to remind the people who live in the Republic of the great price and cost that there was in the campaign of violence waged by republicans who are now seeking places in government, both north and south," he said.

"We simply want to make sure that their past is not simply airbrushed out of history."

Earlier this week, the Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, said the government had hoped the parade would pass off peacefully.

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