Over 100,000 took to the streets in Ireland protesting the government’s economic policies and their cutbacks on the poor and the elderly.

Organizers claimed over 100,000 but police said only that the crowd exceeded 50,000 and a major rally was held  in O’Connell Street.

The protest was organised by the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, who have said the austerity measures are too harsh that are being adopted following the IMF bailout.

The ICTU leadership said: 'If they go ahead with their plans, they will do irreparable damage and turn this country into a social and economic wasteland.'

Marchers assembled behind the banners of their unions but it appeared many member  of the public were also taking part.

March organisers also provided whistles to  demonstrators to use as a way to protest.

Union leaders Jack O'Connor and David Begg, and singer Christy Moore are set to address the march.

Three demonstrators sailed down the Liffey in a curragh and flew several  banners in support of the marchers.

There is a massive media presence, with camera crews from all over the world present.

Police say they are expecting a peaceful protest, but are poised to handle any trouble.

Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan, said: 'While our policing plan is primarily focused on crowd safety, it will also aim to prevent any disruption. In addition, we will gather evidence of any unlawful or criminal behaviour which might occur with the intention of bringing those responsible before the courts."

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