Labour Party conference centre locked down as protesters breach barriers
14/04/2012 - 18:08:09
Hundreds of protesters have broken through garda lines at the Labour Party conference in Galway.
There were scuffles on university grounds at NUIG after protesters tried to remove crowd-control barriers preventing them from gaining access to the conference hall.
The protesters made their way up the entrance of the venue, which was locked down for a time. The conference is continuing despite the protests.
Today's march from Eyre Square to NUIG started off peacefully, but a breakaway group of protesters clashed with gardaí as they tried to breach barriers keeping them away from the Bailey Allen Hall, where debates on motions were taking place.
They are reports that pepper spray was used during the incident.
Several hundred demonstrators then forced their way past the gardaí up to the front door of building, but they were prevented from gaining access.
One of the march organisers, People Before Profit TD Joan Collins, said: "I think a lot of people wanted to get a bit closer so the Labour Party would hear them and know they were outside."
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: "If they disagree with us, that's their democratic right. If they wish to protest, that's their democratic right, but they have no democratic right to basically stop another political party, committed to democracy, to go about its business.
"I must say I think it's a great pity that they should have behaved in the way they have."
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