The British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) was today (Saturday) keeping close tabs on the serious rioting in Northern Ireland.
The British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) was today (Saturday) keeping close tabs on the serious rioting in Northern Ireland. In Belfast, three men were killed and more than 90 people injured as Protestants and Catholics battled with each other and British troops. It was the capital's worst night of violence in a year.
The Home Secretary, Mr. Reginald Maudling, was receiving frequent reports on the situation, but was reported to be planning to on ahead with his scheduled visit to the province next week.
The past 24 hours--following the imprisonment of Catholic civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin--have been a time of trial for the British troops who've been keeping the peace in Northern Ireland since last summer's sectarian riots in which 13 people were killed.
For much of today's rioting, the troops relied on CS tear gas as their main weapon to break up rival factions. But tonight the trouble reached its most serious proportions yet as hundreds of shops, businesses and restaurants were set ablaze. The troops were given instructions to shoot at petrol bomb throwers. AT one time a ring of fires threatened to spread throughout the city, but firemen managed to bring them under control.
In Londonderry, scene of some of the worst rioting last year, barricades were thrown up round the Catholic Bogside district. Rioters advancing on British troops were dispersed when the soldiers fired tear gas canisters.
As the rioting continued, the Northern Ireland government's security Committee met to consider the gravity of the situation.