DUBLIN — Some 10,000 labor union supporters marched through Dublin Saturday in Ireland's biggest demonstration yet against severe budget-cutting plans and a looming EU-IMF bailout.
The crowd seemed lower than organizers had anticipated. The march began peacefully as organizers tried to keep confrontations to a minimum
Union chiefs who represent a third of Ireland's 2 million-strong labor force had predicted that tens of thousands would parade along the River Liffey to the capital's central thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, to hear calls for Ireland's 2011 budget to hit the rich and the banks, not average citizens already struggling with reduced wages and rising bills. Police said the crowd numbered "at least" 10,000.
Related content Irish banks' ratings downgraded by S&P Ireland's economy has a split personality Thinking the unthinkable — euro zone breakup Irish government unveils harsh budget ..The rally is the first major demonstration since Ireland last week opened negotiations with European Union and International Monetary Fund experts on a likely €85 billion ($115 billion) loan to save the country from bankruptcy