The Battle of the Bogside

Londonderry, August 1969

July 1969, I was 20 years old and had just got my baccalaureate.

That summer I proposed to the editor to go to Northern Ireland where riots between Catholics and Protestants were daily and increasingly violent. Arrived in Belfast early August, I went the 12th to Londonderry for the Apprentice Boys march, an annual Protestant parade considered by Catholics, the majority in this city, as a serious provocation.

At first, the parade went smoothly, but when it passed the Bogside Catholic district, stones and Molotov cocktails began to rain. Clashes between Catholic protesters and Protestant police lasted three days and destroyed much of the neighborhood. Late afternoon on the 14th, at the request of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, England troops relieved the local police putting a temporary end to the violence, it was the beginning of the British state security forces operations that would last until 1990. The conflict made more than 3,500 victims.

Using Format