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The majority of anti-water protesters peaceful - Joe

ANTI-WATER charges groups have insisted that the vast majority of people protesting are peaceful and warned against heavy-handed response by gardai.

Some 150,000 people took to the streets across the country last week in a day of protest that passed off peacefully.

"I don't need to defend the protesters, they're acting responsibly," said Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins whose Anti-Austerity Alliance has been at the forefront of many protests.

"These protests are being held by ordinary grassroots of society across the country and particularly in the north-east of Dublin," he said.

"They don't want water charges as a new austerity tax and they have said that to the government.

"Peaceful and disciplined protest is what will bear fruit at the end of the day," Mr Higgins added.

However, he said that he was worried about the role gardai played in the protests that have been occurring nationwide.

"It is outrageous that gardai are being used as part of that process and it is causing serious issues between communities and the gardai," he said.

Jerry Beades of the New Land League claims that community links with Gardai are "being destroyed" amid the policing of protests.

He said his organisation would like to meet Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to discuss the matter.

"We are non-political and they don't come out with their political banners.


"We are peaceful protesters," he said responding to reports that Republican dissidents have hijacked some protests.

The installation of water meters was halted yesterday in protest hotspots in parts of Dublin.

Protesters were waiting on street corners at 7am for Irish Water staff to arrive and install meters but stood down after meter installers failed to arrive.