DUBLIN – About 10,000 socialist protesters have marched through Dublin in opposition to government plans to unveil Ireland's sixth straight austerity budget next month.
Saturday's protest filled the major boulevard, O'Connell Street, with marchers from across Ireland. Many bore banners denouncing government leaders and vowing not to pay new and future tax hikes. A few came dressed as Santa Claus and bore signs claiming the government was about to steal Christmas.
Ireland is committed to annual cuts and tax hikes through at least 2015 as part of its austerity program, begun in 2009, to combat yawning deficits and fund a colossally expensive bank rescue program. Ireland faced national bankruptcy in 2010 and was forced to negotiate an international bailout. Those European Union-International Monetary Fund loans run out next year.