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Three arrested during protests in Dublin

anti-austerity protesters converged on parliament

Three people have been arrested following anti-austerity protests in Dublin which erupted on Wednesday.

The trouble on O'Connell Street, Dublin's major thoroughfare, and fighting with police outside the entrance to Ireland's parliament building reflected rising divisions - both in government and on the streets - over plans to continue the five-year austerity programme.

Protesters representing a range of socialist and republican interests converged on the parliament building Leinster House bearing signs demanding the imprisonment of reckless bankers responsible for fuelling a 15-year property bubble that burst in 2008.

Two people were hurt after officers deployed pepper spray and a third person was injured on a barrier.

The police arrested the three for public order offences.

Protesters outflanked the police cordon and blocked both ends of the bridge as well as much of O'Connell Street.

Some unfurled banners calling for banks not to evict mortgage defaulters, while others staged sit-down protests on the pavement until they left voluntarily after dark.

Ireland's government is committed to unveiling a 2014 budget on October 15 featuring €3.1 billion (£2.6bn) in new cuts and tax rises.

The Irish people already have endured five years of austerity following the collapse of the banking system in 2008.

Economists and government ministers are publicly divided on whether the 2014 cuts go too far following its 2010 bailout by the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But many Irish people believe they've already lost too much in order to finance a bank-rescue programme expected to cost taxpayers close to £70 billion.

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