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Glasto victory for Bono as tax demo falls flat

ANTI-U2 protesters failed to halt the band's historic Glastonbury show as 100,000 fans braved rain, cold and mud to see them in action.

There were minor scuffles during a small protest against the band's decision several years ago to switch its operations from Ireland to the Netherlands for tax purposes.

But it did little to distract the crowd, which sang along to some of the band's greatest hits like

Sunday, Bloody Sunday and Where The Streets Have No Name.

The group had been due to play a headline slot on the main Pyramid stage a year ago, but lead singer Bono hurt his back putting their debut on hold.

"I'm sorry to have called in sick last year," Bono told the crowd, his dark glasses covered in rain drops.

"This is a very, very great occasion for us -- we don't do this very often."

A pressure group called Arts Uncut had aimed to embarrass Bono and the band by highlighting their tax status -- a large white balloon covered with the words U Pay Tax 2? was held above the crowd.

But the gestures were barely noticed by most of the festival-goers.

Critics say Bono should be prepared to pay full taxes in his homeland, particularly at a time of major financial difficulty.

Others argue it is the band's right to pay taxes legally wherever they wish "It's his money, he can do what he wants with it," said Freddie Cowan, of British indie band The Vaccines, who were also performing at Glastonbury.

- Mike Collett-White