The Derry march of 5 October 1968 provided the spark for civil rights protests across Northern Ireland. On 9 October 1968, 2,000 students marched from Queen's University Belfast. Shortly after their departure, the police served a notice restricting the route of the march away from Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, where the Reverend Ian Paisley was holding a demonstration. In Linenhall Street behind City Hall, the student demonstrators were stopped by a police cordon. The students sat down in protest.
Paisley and his supporters moved their rally to the front of City Hall. During the next few hours, the students discussed how to proceed with their protest, the majority deciding to return to the university campus. From this Belfast protest, the People's Democracy was formed.
On the same day, Nationalist MP Eddie McAteer met with Taoiseach Jack Lynch. Betty Sinclair, chair of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), met with Unionist Mayor of Derry William Beatty on 11 October 1968 in Portballintrae.
The accompanying image shows An Taoiseach Jack Lynch as he addresses the nation regarding the Northern Ireland situation, on RTÉ Television on 13 August 1969.
© RTÉ Stills Library 5014/016
RTÉ News footage shows students setting out from Queen's University Belfast and Ian Paisley and his supporters holding a counter-demonstration.
Students from Queen's University Belfast have their civil rights march halted by police.
Nationalist Party leader, Eddie McAteer, is pictured meeting with the Taoiseach Jack Lynch to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland.
Demonstrator, Ciarán McKeown, talks about the aftermath of the student protests and the potential for further demonstrations.
Reporter Pat Sweeney in Portballintrae tries to get reaction from Unionists on the situation in Derry.