Irish anti-queen protesters burn British flags

17th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

At least 100 protesters chanted slogans and torched the British flag in Dublin on Tuesday as Queen Elizabeth II began the first visit by a British monarch to the Irish Republic.

There were two republican rallies near the Garden of Remembrance -- a memorial to those who died fighting for Irish independence -- where the queen will head later Tuesday in one of the most sensitive moments of the trip.

At one end of the memorial, around 60 protesters pushed against police lines and chanted slogans such as "No royals" and "Troops out", an AFP correspondent reported.

They set fire to a British union flag and to the flag of British-ruled Northern Ireland.

The protesters carried banners from various groups, including the Sinn Fein party and the hardline republican 32 County Sovereignty Movement, which opposes the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

Several dozen protesters held a separate demonstration on the other side of the gardens.

Dublin and London have hailed the queen's visit -- the first by a British sovereign since Irish independence in 1922 -- as a landmark in Anglo-Irish relations.

Irish President Mary McAleese earlier this month condemned dissident republicans who oppose the trip as "the tail end of a very old, tired, failed culture of trying to resolve political problems through paramilitarism".

McAleese and the queen will lay wreaths and the national anthems of both states will be played during the ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance.

© 2011 AFP

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