At least 12 people had died in the early hours of this morning in a terrifying wave of riots, shootings and bombardments that engulfed Northern Ireland after the reintroduction of the Special Powers Act regulation allowing the internment without trial of subversives politicians. Between 300 and 400 people have been detained.
The dead included a Roman Catholic priest who was caught in a crossfire while administering the last rites to a wounded man at the New Barnsley estate in Belfast, a member of the Ulster Defense Regiment who was killed in Clady, County Tyrone, and a civilian who died of his injuries after a shooting in Armagh.
Many troops and civilians were injured by gunfire and shrapnel from bombs in Belfast and Londonderry. Large fires have consumed acres of buildings in both cities and major cities.
Throughout the day, the Catholic people of Belfast erected large impenetrable barricades around the slums of the ghetto in a last-ditch effort to prevent soldiers from taking away the men they hoped to intern.
Several well-known figures from Belfast had been withdrawn from the troops. Among them were three Belfast city councilors, including Starry Plow Tavern licensee on New Lodge Road, James O’Kane. Several men who had not been active for years were also arrested.
In Short Strand, the fury of the mobs was directed more at the property than at the soldiers or Protestants, who scoffed from close-up vantage points. Dozens of buses (the corporation does not yet have precise figures) were stolen and set on fire, and it took four hours for soldiers to regain any semblance of control in the area.
Mr Faulkner ‘s [prime minister of Northern Ireland] The announcement reintroducing long-dormant internment regulations has been combined with an outright ban on all parades to be held across the province through February next year.
In a lengthy statement broadcast on both television channels, Mr. Faulkner assured his people that he had been pushed to the limits of reasonable tolerance before reluctantly invoking the necessary legislation.
He said that all means have already been tried to make terrorists subject to the law. “I had to conclude that common law cannot deal comprehensively or quickly enough with such ruthless seriousness,” he said.
“Therefore, I have decided … to exercise, when necessary, the powers of arrest and internment that have been granted to me as Minister of the Interior. As a result, the security forces detained several men this morning at various locations in Northern Ireland. I will issue internment orders with respect to any of these men who constitute a serious and continuing threat to public order and safety. “
(This is an edited excerpt).