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The 1981 Hunger Strike

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The Republican Hunger Strike 1981 The 1981 Irish hunger strike was a five-year protest during The Troubles by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The protest began as the blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew their prisoner of war status, this meant they could no longer get special treatments such as their own clothes, parcels etc, for all convicted paramilitary prisoners. The blanket protest escalated into the dirty protest, where prisoners refused to wash and cover the walls of their cells with excrement and this in turn lead to the hunger strike which was a showdown between the prisoners and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The hunger strike centred on the "Five Demands": 1. the right not to wear a prison uniform; 2. the right not to do prison work; 3. the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits; 4. the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week; 5. full restoration of remission lost through the protest Although they were all convicted criminals they did not see themselves as criminals, believing they ...read more.


Bobby Sands, was elected as a Member of Parliament during the strike, prompting media interest from around the world, after the hunger strike created world recognition, streets were named after the hunger strikers, there were worldwide protests and the Indian government even had a minute's silence. The republic of Ireland's public showed widespread support also for the Hunger Strikers. The strike was called off after 10 prisoners had starved themselves to death, some of the families were not happy to see their sons becoming martyrs, so much so that one hunger-striker was taken off the strike by his family, there was high pressure for many of the other strikers who's families weren't willing to let them die, even the IRA initially were not sure if they should or shouldn't support the strike and then soon changed their minds and supported the strike when they realised the hugeness of this event and the attention and support it was receiving from people who had previously grown tired of the IRA. ...read more.


admired the hunger strikers bravery but, they were definitely in favour of ending the Hunger Strike, they didn't like what the effect had been on the public, causing riots, people had died (including 61 catholic peace campaigners) and the bin-lid banging which occurred after one of the hunger strikers had died. Protests saw how moderate Catholics were supporting the Hunger Strikes and how the nationalists stood down to allow him to be elected as a PM. Protestants and Unionists had no doubt, they straight away believed that the Hunger strikers were criminal terrorists; they were certainly not going to support them, even though there was so much support for the hunger strikers from the rest of the world, protestants hated how the media made them appear as heroes and how popular the media made them in the USA. Bobby Sands said 'Our revenge is our children's laughter', the Unionists did not like this because it was the IRA who were the people carrying out bombings across the UK and who caused the deaths of so many men, women and children as a result. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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