Thousands protest N Ireland hospital cuts
Thousands of protesters in Northern Ireland take to the streets of a town north of the capital Belfast against cuts in services of a local hospital.
Around 12,000 people attended a rally in Downpatrick protesting against the reduction of services at the Downe Hospital.
Traffic in the town came to a standstill while farmers showed their support alongside school children, sports clubs, businesses and health workers.
They marched two miles through the town, the state-run BBC reported on Saturday.
From January 2014, the accident and emergency unit at the Downe Hospital has been closed at weekends.
A shortage of qualified emergency doctors was blamed. Other wards have also seen their bed numbers cut.
Organizers have said the hospital, officially opened in June 2010, was being hit with “never ending cuts”.
The rally organizers want to see the return of a full-time accident and emergency cover, as well as the recovery of coronary care and other wards.