INTRODUCTION: In Dublin, thousands of Irish men and women marched through the city streets to show their support for 18 I.
SV Demonstrators marching with banners in Dublin, Ireland (6 shots)
SULLIVAN: "The last march ended with a running battle with riot police, who would let the demonstrators nowhere near the prison at Portlaoise, 50 miles from Dublin, where the hunger strikers were held. Now that the 18 men still on a hunger strike are in a military hospital the protestors decided to march in the centre of Dublin, where as the Irish Civil Rights Association put it, the public were more likely to be involved. Today, more than five thousand turned out. It's a second attempt to generate public interest in the self-inflicted condition of the hunger strikers. They are protesting at the treatment of I.R.A. men inside Portlaoise. The Minister of Justice has issued a long statement denying some of the accusations and defending the prison authorities over others. But apart from that the Irish Government has remained unmoved and the prisoners' champions outside the prison have grown more frustrated by what has so far been the fruitlessness of the hunger strike."
Although no member of the I.R.A. has died while on a hunger strike in the Irish Republic for more than 30 years, the deaths of two young guerrillas in British jails sparked off major campaigns of violence by the I.R.A., which is fighting to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
REPORTER: MICHAEL SULLIVAN
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Dublin, thousands of Irish men and women marched through the city streets to show their support for 18 I.R.A. prisoners who are on hunger strike. The prisoners are members of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the I.R.A. They went on the hunger strike to protest against conditions at the Portlaoise prison near Dublin. BBC reporter Michael Sullivan takes up the story.