Anti-G8 protest in Belfast

Hundreds of anti-G8 demonstrators have taken to the streets of Belfast amid a major security operation in Northern Ireland ahead of next week's G8 summit.

G8 leaders lampooned at anti-poverty event in Belfast

Actors impersonating the G8 leaders took to the stage in a concert in Belfast's Botanic Gardens this evening.

Some 2,000 anti-poverty campaigners attended the Big IF event, which included performances by Two Door Cinema Club, Britain's Got Talent finalist Jordan O'Keefe and actor Jim Broadbent.

Large headed impersonators of the G8 politicians arrive onstage at Belfast Botanic Gardens
Large headed impersonators of the G8 politicians arrive onstage at Belfast Botanic Gardens Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Big IF event was organised by a range of charities including Oxfam, Trocaire and the Enough Food For Everyone If campaign.

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Heavy security presence in Belfast ahead of G8 Summit

The security operation in Belfast, Northern Ireland is on a scale not witnessed in the city before, with hundreds of public order officers flanking the anti-G8 rally.

Scores of fortified Land Rover-type vehicles were parked up on side streets ready to be deployed while police helicopters circled constantly overhead.

Police in riot gear guard a branch of McDonald's in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Police in riot gear guard a branch of McDonald's in Belfast, Northern Ireland Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Police have made 260 temporary holding cells available for potential trouble-makers while 16 judges are on stand-by to preside over special courts.

So far any trouble has been restricted to a few individuals or small groups.

Police on duty in Belfast
Police on duty in Belfast Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Watch: Protester appears to try and jump off building in London

Anti-G8 protest kicks off amid major security presence

A mass anti-G8 protest rally has begun in Belfast ahead of a meeting of the leaders of the world's eight largest economies in Northern Ireland on Monday.

The march left the city's Custom House square amid a major security presence.

Anti G8 protesters take part in a rally in Belfast City centre ahead of the G8 world leaders summit Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Hundreds of protesters, advocating a variety of causes, braved torrential rain as they walked through streets.

Spirits were high and there were initially no signs of the disorder that some in Belfast had feared.

Anti G8 protesters Credit: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Hundreds of public order police officers flanked the route with scores of fortified Land Rover-type vehicles also parked up.

Police helicopters circled overhead.

Anti G8 protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks
Anti G8 protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks Credit: Paul Faith/PA Wire

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Report: Deal to demolish 'Peace' Walls expected

A plan to demolish Northern Ireland's so-called "peace" walls within a decade is expected to be announced by David Cameron later today, according to reports.

Next week will see Enniskillen in Northern Ireland host the two day G8 summit where international leaders including Cameron and Barack Obama take part in the two day event.

UTV's Marc Mallett spoke to ITV Daybreak in Belfast:

10,000 police to gather in NI ahead of G8 summit

10,000 police will be deployed in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, today as part of a major security operation ahead of the arrival of world leaders for the G8 summit next week.

Police officers including members of the PSNI undergo riot training at Longmoor Army Camp ahead of the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wir