Residents give their reaction following recent violence, a curfew and British Army raids in West Belfast.

Trouble erupted when the British Army discovered a cache of arms and explosives in Balkan Street between Falls Road and Grosvenor Road in West Belfast.

As the soldiers left the house they were stoned by local people who objected to the search. What started as a local stone throwing incident escalated into a gun battle in which five people died and a curfew was imposed on the Falls Road area.

Residents were made stay in their homes for 22 hours with just two hours in which to buy food and supplies. With the curfew lifted, people are back on the streets again, but there are ample reminders of the violent days that have just passed.

One resident says the soldiers behaved brutally,

Certainly I was frightened, anyone would have been frightened.

An elderly woman describes the violence,

It was like hell opening for sinners, it was shocking.

Many residents express anger that the British Army caused unnecessary damage when searching every house in the area. They say interiors were destroyed, windows broken, clothes strewn about, furniture toppled and religious statues and pictures damaged. Many people talk of looting, saying the soldiers stole whatever money and valuables they found and tore up pension books.

One man describes the British Army as,

Professional looters, professional robbers, professional thieves.

His pregnant wife was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital as tear gas used by the soldiers affected her badly. When he asked to visit his wife and was taken to the hospital at gunpoint.

They're animals, nothing but short, just animals.

Secretary of the Belfast Central Citizens Defence Committee Jim Sullivan says the British Army were intentionally heavy handed.

This was deliberate, and an attempt to crush the spirit of the people here but I think it’s backfired on them.

He sees no hope for peace if the British Army continues to use such tactics adding,

These people won’t be crushed.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 July 1970. The reporter is Barry Linnane.