• Short Summary

    Northern Ireland came to a standstill on Monday (27 March) as thousands of Protestants demonstrated their opposition to direct rule from London.

  • Description

    Northern Ireland came to a standstill on Monday (27 March) as thousands of Protestants demonstrated their opposition to direct rule from London.

    The Stopwork was called by the militant Vanguard movement and caused the closure of shops, offices, banks, airports and railway stations. The stoppages were expected to continue until midnight on Tuesday (28 March).

    It was estimated that about 100-thousand workers had responded to the call from the Vanguard movement, which also arranged a mass street demonstration in the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast.

    The success of the stopwork is seen by some as a serious blow to Britain's hopes of anding the Northern Ireland problem by imposing direct rule from Westminster.

    SYNOPSIS: Northern Ireland on Monday - and early morning confusion as townspeople and officials alike tried to assess the effect of a stopwork called by the militant Protestant Vanguard movement. The action was a protest against the British Government's decision to impose direct rule on Northern Ireland from Westminster. The stopwork was timed to start at mid-morning - and soon after that it became clear that all Ulster was affected. Power supplies were cut - forcing those firms not already closed by the stopwork to send their workers home. Throughout the province shops, banks, offices, airports and railway stations came to a standstill.

    The Belfast docks were also strike bound.

    Thousands of Protestant dockers downed tools and marched to the centre of Belfast to join a rally called to protest against the British Government's move.

    Traffic lights put out of action by the power cuts didn't help a police tried to keep traffic moving. The rally - like the stoppages - was organised by the ???nguard Movement. According to present laws in Ulster it was illegal -- but British troops watched from a distance without moving to disperse the crowd. The tone of the rally was subdued - rather than angry.

    The more exuberant of the demonstrators climbed onto a statue and carried aloft the Ulster Unionist flag.

    There was a warm welcome for the leader of the Vanguard movement, Mr. William Craig. He was to give a defiant speech deploring the British decision - and went on to announce another rally for Tuesday.

    The actual transfer of power from the Northern Ireland Government to Westminster is expected to take place within a few days.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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