Soldiers put up razor wire to block Shannon anti-war protest

SOLDIERS added razor wire to Shannon Airport’s perimeter fences last night as the army and gardaí braced for trouble at today’s anti-war protest.

In the last couple of weeks the army has been training troops in additional riot tactics for today’s rally, a source confirmed yesterday.

Spokesman Kieran McDaid said extra troops and equipment would be dispatched for today’s march.

A group calling itself the Grassroots Network Against War last night said it would breach the perimeter fence at today’s demonstration.

“We will not attempt to occupy the runway or to reach any planes. The purpose of this action is to demonstrate that the State cannot secure the ‘warport’ against the anger of the people,” said a spokesperson.

The original organisers of the march, The Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM), denied any connection with the Grassroots Network.

The group said it expected several thousand people to protest peacefully. IAWM spokesman, Richard Boyd Barrett, said the proposed breach of security would detract from the real issues of the protest.

The prospect of violence at Shannon has split the anti-war movement, deterring others from attending the protest.

The Labour Party and Sinn Féin advised their party members and supporters to stay away from Shannon, urging them instead to attend a peace rally outside the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at 2pm today. It is being organised by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the NGO Peace

Alliance and will be addressed by Bishop John Kirby of Trócaire.

PANA’s spokesperson Roger Cole said public opposition to the war was widespread, but should be channelled into peaceful means.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue said a contingency plan had been drawn up to divert marketing money away from North America in the event of war as its citizens would be less likely to travel.

“I’m not going to decry the protestors or interfere with their right to protest, but the truth is America is a great friend of Ireland,” he said yesterday.

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