The Battle of the Bogside
"It’s the police who are rioting. Why don’t they go home and leave us in peace?" Wee Ronnie O’Hara
The hail of stones and petrol bombs was too heavy. The youths on the roof of the Rossville flats had built a huge catapult from which they launched petrol bombs in support of those defenders of the Bogside fighting on the ground.
A lorry shuttled between Rossville Street and the Old City Dairy in the Brandywell carrying thousands of empty milk bottles to the defenders. It was later reported that the dairy lost more than twenty thousand bottles in the first two days of the struggle.
Local householders donated their boxes of washing detergent to the petrol bomb manufacturers. A teaspoon of powder added to half-a-pint of petrol in a one-pint milk bottle with a cotton rag stuffed in the neck was the formula. The detergent gave the burning petrol sticking power, allowing it to cling to the clothing, shields, and vehicles of the RUC targets.
The police made no effort to enter the Bogside at any other points. Defenders at the Brandywell, Stanley's Walk, and Fahan Street stood idly as the main action took place in Rossville Street. It was really a battle of wills. The RUC was determined to impose its will on the illegal, traitorous, defiant, Catholic Fenians. The Bogsiders were adamant that they would not be driven from their own streets.
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