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Abstract of Important Events - The emergence of the Civil Rights Campaign



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Text and Research: Martin Melaugh
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Introduction

This is one of a number of files which provide a very brief abstract of important events during the Northern Ireland conflict. Some of the events are dealt with in greater detail elsewhere (check, for example, Key Events and the corresponding entry in the chronology).


The emergence of the Civil Rights Campaign

The Civil Rights Campaign that started in the mid-1960s began in the 'pressure group' activities of mainly middle-class Catholics who published leaflets, issued statements and sent letters in the hope of addressing perceived discrimination, in many walks of life, against the Catholic community. The membership and tactics of the Civil Rights Movement was to change over the course of several years. It was to become a more broadly based organisation and was to adopt public protest on the street as the main means of achieving the movements aims.

Unionists, however, viewed the developments with deep suspicion and in many instances their reaction was openly hostile. Many Unionists believed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was behind the agitation and accused those involved of being more interested in undermining the Northern Ireland state than in reform.



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