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The Deployment of British Troops
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The Deployment of British troops - 14 August 1969
The civil unrest in Northern Ireland that had begun in 1968 reached a peak in the summer of 1969. The 'marching season' sparked riots in Derry in July but the worst rioting occurred in August 1969 following the annual Apprentice Boys march in Derry. After three days of rioting, which became known as the 'Battle of the Bogside', the British Government agreed that British troops could be deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland. The deployment of troops was know as 'Operation Banner'. While responsibility for security was to remain with the Stormont Government, the decision to deploy British troops meant that the British Government would inevitably take a more active role in Northern Ireland affairs. Many Unionist politicians, while welcoming the British troops, resented the additional interference in their handling of Northern Ireland matters. Indeed this was the first step down a road that was to lead to the establishment of 'direct rule' from Westminster.
'Operation Banner' ended on 31 July 2007. It had been announced that the permanent military garrison, within Northern Ireland, would revert to its peacetime level of no more than 5,000 troops by 31 July 2007.

 


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