As the last of an additional 4,000 British troops arrived in Northern Ireland on Sunday (July 30)--bringing the total to 21,000--Secretary of state William Whitelaw announced the start of "substantial" army activity throughout the province.
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GV Damaged buildings and barricades in Londonderry with troops on guard
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Background: As the last of an additional 4,000 British troops arrived in Northern Ireland on Sunday (July 30)--bringing the total to 21,000--Secretary of state William Whitelaw announced the start of "substantial" army activity throughout the province.
In a statement form his Belfast office, Mr. whitelaw said the object of the operation was to enable security forces "to move freely throughout all areas and so to protect the whole community."
This was taken to mean that the army intends to invade Catholic "no-go" areas--either to clear the giant concrete barricades which block every entrance to the areas or to launch an operation designed to root out terrorist gunmen of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Mr. Whitelaw warned people that they could "best assist the security forces and protect themselves by keeping off the streets."
In Londonderry, heavy armoured cars carrying British army reinforcements rumbled through the streets and the city was tense as its population awaited the acting out of a new chapter in its history of violence. The reinforcements brought army strength in the city to six battalions--the highest ever.
Although Mr. Whitelaw's statement, issued at 22030 GMT, said substantial army activity would be effective form the time of its publication an army spokesman said the statement was a precautionary statement to the public and not necessarily indicative of nay immediate action.