Gangs of Protestants youths battled with British army troops in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on Saturday (June 3).
Gangs of Protestants youths battled with British army troops in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on Saturday (June 3). The youths attacked the troops with bottles and stones, and the troops retaliated with rubber bullets and powerful sprays of purple-dyed water.
The battle took place at a bridge dividing Roman Catholic and protestant districts. The youths, who had been talking part in a seven-thousand-strong march through a Protestant district, tried to force their way past troops across the bridge.
The march was called to protest at the 'no-go' cross of Londonderry, Roman Catholic districts controlled by men of the illegal Irish Republican Army which British troops do not attempt to enter.
The battle on the bridge lasted about an hour before the march organisers regained central and led the procession out of the area.
SYNOPSIS: Northern Ireland...and in Londonderry on Saturday, a battle developed between Protestant youths and British troops at a bridge dividing Roman Catholic and protestant areas of the city. It began with a procession of about seven-thousand Protestants in the biggest parade since the ban on marches was lifted recently. Leading them was Mr William Craig, head of the Vanguard movement, and he was followed by masked men of the Ulster Defence Association, the militant wing of vanguard formed to protect Protestant areas against attack. The march was hold to protest against the Roman Catholic 'no-go' areas, controlled by armed members of the illegal Irish Republican Army, and which British troops don't attempt to enter. The trouble started when marchers reached a heavily-guarded bridge dividing Roman Catholic and Protestant areas. Stewards managed to guide most of the crowd past the bridge, but a section of about four hundred -- mostly youths -- broke away and tried to storm across.
The attackers threw missiles and broke down barricades, and the soldiers, retaliated with rubber bullets and powerful purple-dyes water jets fired from a water-cannon.