Civil rights movement


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    Civil rights movement Empty Civil rights movement

    Post by msistarted0 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:51 am

    The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. It was accompanied by much civil unrest and popular rebellion. The process was long and tenuous in many countries, and most of these movements did not fully achieve their goals although, the efforts of these movements did lead to improvements in the legal rights of previously oppressed groups of peoples.

    * 1 Civil rights movement in Northern Ireland
    * 2 Movements of Independence in Africa
    * 3 Canada's Quiet Revolution
    * 4 Civil rights movement in the United States
    o 4.1 Ethnicity equity issues
    + 4.1.1 Integrationism
    + 4.1.2 Black Power
    + 4.1.3 Chicano Movement
    + 4.1.4 American Indian Movement
    o 4.2 Gender equity issues
    * 5 LGBT rights and gay liberation
    * 6 German student movement
    * 7 France 1968
    * 8 Tlatelolco massacre, Mexico
    * 9 Prague Spring
    * 10 1967 Australian Referendum
    * 11 Notes
    * 12 Further reading
    * 13 External links

    Civil rights movement in Northern Ireland
    Further information: Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association

    Northern Ireland is a province of the United Kingdom which has witnessed violence over many decades, mainly because of sectarian tensions between the Catholic and Protestant community, known as the Troubles.
    A Bloody Sunday memorial mural

    The civil rights struggle in Northern Ireland can be traced to Catholics in Dungannon who were fighting for equal access to public housing for the members of the Catholic community, led by Austin Currie. This domestic issue would not have led to a fight for civil rights were it not for the fact that being a registered householder was a qualification for local government franchise in Northern Ireland.[citation needed] This substantial contribution made by women is often erased from the general history of Northern Ireland, primarily because the country still has a Protestant majority and a conservative culture where people often overlook the role of women in the political sphere.[1]

    On a broader and more organized front, in January 1964, the Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) was officially launched in Belfast.[2] This organization took over women's struggle for better housing and committed itself to end discrimination in employment. The CSJ promised the Catholic community that their cries would be heard. They challenged the government and promised that they would take their case to the Commission for Human Rights in Strasbourg and to the United Nations.[3]

    Having started with basic domestic issues, the civil rights struggle in Northern Ireland escalated to a full scale movement that found its embodiment in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. The NICRA campaigned in the late sixties and early seventies and consciously modeled itself on the American civil rights movement. Empowered by what African Americans were doing, the movement organized marches and protests to demand better conditions for the minority of Catholics who lived in the Protestant state.

    NICRA originally had five main demands:

    * one man, one vote
    * an end to discrimination in housing
    * an end to discrimination in local government
    * an end to the gerrymandering of district boundaries, which limited the effect of Catholic voting
    * the disbandment of the B-Specials, an entirely Protestant Police reserve, perceived as sectarian.

    All of these specific demands were aimed at an ultimate goal that had been the one of women at the very beginning: the end of discrimination.

    Civil rights activists all over Northern Ireland soon launched a campaign of civil disobedience. There was opposition from Loyalists, who were aided by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Northern Ireland's Police Force.[citation needed] At this point, the RUC was over 90% Protestant. Violence escalated, resulting in the rise of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) from the Catholic community, a group reminiscent of those from the War of Independence and the Civil War that occurred in the 1920s that had launched a campaign of violence to end British rule in Northern Ireland. Loyalist paramilitaries countered this with a defensive campaign of violence and the British government responded with a policy of internment without trial of suspected IRA members. For more than three hundred people, the internment lasted several years. The huge majority of those interned by the British forces were Catholic. In 1978, in a case brought by the government of the Republic of Ireland against the government of the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the interrogation techniques approved for use by the British army on internees in 1971 amounted to "inhuman and degrading" treatment.

    Although it is common knowledge that, for a time, the aims of the Republicans was for their military division, the IRA, and the NICRA to converge, the two bodies never did so. The IRA told the Republicans to join in the civil rights movement but it never controlled the NICRA. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association fought for the end of discrimination toward Catholics and was happy to do so within the British state.[4] Republican leader Gerry Adams explained subsequently that Catholics saw that it was possible for them to have their demands heard. He wrote that "we were able to see an example of the fact that you didn't just have to take it, you could fight back".[3]

    One of the most important events in the era of civil rights in Northern Ireland took place in Derry, which escalated the conflict from peaceful civil disobedience to armed conflict. The Battle of the Bogside started on 12 August when an Apprentice Boys, a Protestant order, parade passed through Waterloo Place, where a large crowd was gathered at the mouth of William Street, on the edge of the Bogside. Different accounts describe the first outbreak of violence, with reports stating that it was either an attack by youth from the Bogside on the RUC, or fighting broke out between Protestants and Catholics. The violence escalated and barricades were erected. Proclaiming this district to be the Free Derry, Bogsiders carried on fights with the RUC for days using stones and petrol bombs. The government finally withdrew the RUC and replaced it with the army, which disbanded the crowds of Catholics who were barricaded in the Bogside.[5]

    Bloody Sunday in Derry is seen as a turning point in the civil rights movement. Up to that day, Catholics were trying to peacefully resolve the problem, but they were ignored and fights broke out. Fourteen unarmed Catholic civil rights marchers protesting against internment were shot dead by the British army and many were left wounded on the streets.

    The peace process has made significant gains in recent years. Through open dialogue from all parties, a state of ceasefire by all major paramilitary groups has lasted. A strong economy and more opportunities for all citizens has greatly improved Northern Ireland's standard of living. Civil rights issues have become far less of a concern for many in Northern Ireland over the past twenty years as laws and policies protecting their rights and forms of affirmative action have been implemented for all government offices and many private businesses. Tensions still exist in some corners of the province, but the vast majority of citizens are no longer affected by the violence that once paralyzed the province.

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