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Capital on edge ahead of Loyalist protest

FEARS of violence at a planned loyalist protest at Dail Eireann this Saturday are well-founded. The protest, which is being organised by victims' campaigner Willie Frazer, is likely to attract opposition from Republicans, raising fears of confrontation on Dublin's streets.

Many will recall the scenes of thuggery and violence, the majority of it non-political in nature, at the Love Ulster march in 2006.

Gardai were criticised at that point for being ill-prepared to deal with the violence. If Saturday's protest goes ahead they will have had plenty of advance warning.

Dubliners will be on edge this week and many may avoid the city centre on Saturday. This has prompted retailers to warn that the march could affect already-fragile commerical business in the area.

Gardai must do everything possible to limit potential disruption. If this means moving the march from Kildare Street to Merrion Square, and restricting access to the area, so be it.