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Protesters demonstration against the G8 summit in Belfast last Saturday. Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

'Protest is a good thing' say PSNI but Turkey unrest could mean smaller demos at G8

The PSNI have said initial indications are that there will not be large numbers of protesters descending on the summit at Lough Erne today.

THE UNREST IN Turkey may mean that fewer protesters turn up to voice their displeasure at world leaders gathering in Lough Erne for the G8 summit getting underway today.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have said that initial indications are that there has not been a large movement of people who regularly protest at international summits onto the island in recent days.

“We have not got many people who have moved onto the island of Ireland. There are some small numbers but not a large movement,” PSNI assistant chief constable Alistair Finlay said last night.

He suggested that the unrest in Turkey, where demonstrations have been taking place against prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for over a week, may have contributed to this with many protesters travelling there instead.

‘Magnet in Turkey’

He said: “There is quite a magnet in turkey at the moment for quite a lot of people who would be strongly wanting to support particular issues who might have thought about coming here but the issues there maybe have taken some of that direction.

“But what we can say is that there are not very many people who’ve moved across from continental Europe into the island of Ireland at present.”

Police expect around 2,000 protestors to descend on Enniskillen this evening from about 6pm but Finlay said that protests are welcome as long as they are peaceful.

Finlay said: “Protest is a good thing, it’s part of a democracy to be able to share your views of what particular issues you want to highlight, but to do so peacefully.”

Garda co-operation

PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott said that his force has worked closely with gardaí in the Republic saying he had met regularly with Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in recent months as preparations for the G8 summit intensified.

“Our working together has never been as close,” Baggott told the media adding that he was “hugely grateful” for the efforts of gardaí particularly given that the border between the North and the Republic was “somewhat porous”.

“We’ve been working with them and sharing information… making sure that the safety of the venue is a complete package from both the south and the north,” he said.

Read: PSNI on G8 drones: ‘They actually look like big model aircraft’

Read: Ireland is “stealing” the UK’s tax funds, according to NI finance minister

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