The British Army moved into Londonderry today (Wednesday) in a major operation to remove the barricades surrounding the embattled and embittered Roman Catholic area known as the Bogside.
The British Army moved into Londonderry today (Wednesday) in a major operation to remove the barricades surrounding the embattled and embittered Roman Catholic area known as the Bogside. The area has been barricaded off and on for two years, but the massive obstacles the army had to tackle were mostly built or reinforced in the days following the introduction of internment y the Northern Ireland Government least week.
There were 23 sniping incidents, in one of which a sniper was killed. The death toll since last week's internment order is now nearing 30--another man was shot tonight in Strabane, 15 miles (24 kms) away.
Demonstrations followed the barricade operation, in which participants were sprayed with blue dye. Among these arrested were two Stormont (Northern Ireland) opposition Members of Parliament, John Hume and Ivan Cooper.
This film was transmitted by the British Broadcasting Corporation form Belfast and telerecorded in London by Visnews.
SYNOPSIS: In Northern Poland the British army went on the offensive with heavy earthmoving vehicles, to clear barricade from the streets of Londonderry. The massive barricades were mostly built or reinforced in the days following last week's move by the Northern Ireland Government to intern suspected troublemakers.
Other troops kept watch for snipers, but civilians walked the streets in defiance of the danger from stray bullets.
Gunmen were out in force as the work progressed. Altogether 23 shooting incidents were recorded as the army freed the Catholic Bogside area of its ring of barricades.
Soldiers ran across the city cemetery after they were shot at from a hilltop housing estate. This was the hottest exchange of fire, and one sniper was killed.
One bullet pierced the flimsy walls of a prefabricated house, but no-one was hurt inside. The tension continued throughout the day. Above the heads of the soldiers, republican flags fluttered form lampposts, as the demolition work went on.
People opposing the action staged a sit-down protest, and the army sprayed them with blue dye. Two opposition members of the Northern Ireland Parliament were among those arrested.
The protest was part of an advertised campaign of non-violent civil disobedience. But it was an open question whether more militant groups would rise farther violence by rebuilding the barricades under cover of darkness after the troops had withdrawn.