More than 10-thousand Catholic Civil Rights campaigners rallied in Belfast on Sunday afternoon (March 19) protesting against internment.
More than 10-thousand Catholic Civil Rights campaigners rallied in Belfast on Sunday afternoon (March 19) protesting against internment. The march was also seen as a response to Saturday's (March 10) rally by more than 50-thousand Protestants, which aimed at warning the British Government against "unacceptable"policy changes in Northern Ireland.
The high point of the rally--which passed off peacefully--was the hoisting of a banner said to have been made by internees and smuggled out of Long Kesh internment camp.
Along the border with the Irish Republic groups of demonstrators who had crossed form the South were trying to fill in craters blasted out by British troops as a way of stopping groups of armed men crossing into the province.
British troops used tear gas against the demonstrators.
SYNOPSIS: Between ten and fifteen thousand Catholic Civil Rights demonstrators braved a steady downpour of rain in Belfast on Sunday to march in protest against internment. The mood of the marchers was relaxed. Their route lay one mile through the Catholic Andersonstown area, and brought the marchers finally to the rallying point in a stadium.
Security forces watched for signs of trouble, but the organisers co-operated with them fully. There were five possible routes and the exact one was kept secret till the march started. Although billed as a protest against internment the event was also seen as response to the mass Protestant rally held just the day before.
Many of the demonstrators have relatives in Long Kesh internment camp. A banner, said to have been made by internees there and smuggled out of the camp, gave the rally its high point...
As the rally went on groups from the Irish Republic ware crossing the border into Ulster intending to fill in roads cratered by the British troops...But British troops were patrolling the likely trouble spots ready for the demonstrators...
As the gas drifted away the demonstrators came in again. Stones were thrown at the troops....
Elsewhere another crowd had been persuaded not to fill in the road. A compromise was agreed when an army sergeant allowed the demonstrators to do some token shovelling--away from the crater.
To the solider's surprise the group form the Republic responded by pointing out a loaded pistol, apparently abandoned on the ground by one of the demonstrators.