IRA volunteer Bobby Sands commences his hunger strike at Long Kesh prison which would see him die 66 days later ensuring an eternal legacy in IRA and Nationalist history. In total, 10 IRA hunger strikers starved to death in their efforts to achieve political prisoner status from the government of an intransigent Margaret Thatcher.
The IRA played a very astute international campaign during the hunger strikes gaining widespread support and attention for their cause. The deaths of Sands and his colleagues was a massive boost for IRA recruitment. The support for the strike was evidenced by Sands winning the vacant House of Commons seat for MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by-election necessitated by the death of sitting MP Frank Maguire. In a hugely emotional campaign, Sands defeated Unionist candidate Harry West.
The demands of the prisoners included:
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.