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Bloody Sunday


Bloody Sunday was the culmination of several years heightened tensions. The Civil Rights movement organised a march to reaffirm their anger at the manner in which the people of Northern ireland were being treated. The majority of the marchers were nationalists, fed up of the discrimination they felt they were being subjected to with regards housing, voting and over recent months internment and the house to house searches conducted by the army and police in predominantly nationalist areas.

The March began peacefully but tension rose as the marchers were prevented from going further by an army blockade, set up to prevent the march continuing. Tempers frayed as the armed forces and the leaders of the march could come to no compromise over how the protest could continue. Some members of the crowd threw stones at the army which escalated, according to some sources, into a more serious disturbance.

Then, out of the blue, the army opened fire into the crowd, killing 15 and wounding dozens more.

In a stroke the armed forces had ruined what trust the nationalist community had in them as a law enforcement agency, the consequences of which were widespread hatred of the armed forces, a rapid rise in the level of support for paramilitary groups such as the IRA and a greater polarisisation of political opinions about the way forward within Northern Iireland.

Explaining the actons of the paratroopers is extremely difficult. They claim that they returned fire, suggesting that paramilitary groups may have been present. Protestors and independent eyewitnesses can not validate this claim. More feasible is that they panicked. The paratroop regiment wasn't trained for crowd control situations, had been under attack from the IRA and may simply have over reacted to the use of violence against themselves.

The Powerpoint Presentation 'Bloody Sunday' outlines the causes of the massacre, events of the day and the immediate consequences of Bloody Sunday along with a brief outline of some possible explanations.

Home Rule Easter Rising 1916 Irish Civil War Partition of Ireland The Troubles 1968-1972 Bloody Sunday Links Worksheets and Teachers Resources




Page last updated 10/07/01
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