In Dublin, over 30,000 – 100,000 marched to the British Embassy, carrying thirteen replica coffins and black flags. They attacked the Embassy with stones and bottles, then petrol bombs. The building was eventually burnt to the ground.
The three days after the Derry massacre were marked by work stoppages and demonstrations in villages, towns and cities across the State. Walk-outs and marches were called by trades councils in Dublin, Cork, Dundalk, Waterford, Galway, Sligo and Letterkenny. The protests drew in large numbers of non-trade unionists and were the biggest union-led demonstrations for many years – perhaps ever.
The nature of the protests was clear in reports of marches arriving at the British embassy in Merrion Square in Dublin two days after the atrocity to hand in letters of protest or parade with placards. The most common demand was for British withdrawal from the north.
On the day that 11 Bloody Sunday victims are buried, the British Embassy in Dublin is burned to the ground by furious demonstrators protesting over the killing of 13 people in Derry on 30 January. Emotions were running extremely high on both sides of the border following the killings, not helped by the British government’s vacuous reaction in the House of Commons, the day after the killings.
Up to 30,000 – 100,000 demonstrators had been protesting outside the Embassy since the events of 30 January. Initially a peaceful demonstration, it turned aggressive and violent. At one stage, the government of Jack Lynch considered bringing in the army to defend the Embassy, but opted not to do so because of fear of serious violence and attacks on the army by IRA elements.
The previous day, the country, had declared a ‘national day of mourning’.
Image | A view of protesters at a demonstration at the British Embassy, Dublin | Scannal Photography