120K Protest 'Economic Treason' in Dublin

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2009 6:53 PM CST
A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the government's handling of the economic crisis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
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(Newser) – As many as 120,000 marched through Dublin today, enraged over a government plan to repair the economy by freezing worker pay and taxing pensions, the Irish Times reports. Calling the strategy "economic treason" in a speech to the crowd, union leader David Begg blamed "a business elite" for the nation's economic woes. "Clean out the Augean stables completely and be rid of them all,” he said.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, facing a rising budget deficit, defended his economic plan in a statement before the march, Reuters reports. "The measures are difficult and, in some cases, painful," the government said, but "they are both necessary and fair." One council worker laughed when asked her opinion of the plan, which critics say leaves banks and developers unaffected. "It's unprintable," she said.