Oct 22, 2011

British Troops Shoot Londonderry Rioters (1971)

Young rioters trying to escape from clouds of CS gas released by the troops in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 8th July 1971.

The picture above was taken by the photographer Don McCullin, who is particularly recognized for his war photography and images of urban strife. That was back in 1971 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland when two men killed by the British Army.

Some of the worst violence in the town for three years flared up that afternoon when a crowd of 200 gathered in Lecky Street at the news of an army shooting earlier in the day.

Welder and former boxer Seamus Cusack, 28, died in Letterkenny District Hospital of a gunshot wound. Troops opened fire, initially with rubber bullets and CS gas, but they failed to disperse the crowd. The rioters retaliated by throwing three nail bombs. The army returned fire. One man was shot in the stomach and five soldiers are reported to have been injured by the missiles. The man was dead on arrival at hospital. He was identified as 19-year-old George Desmond Beattie of Donegal Street, Bogside.

There was a lull in the violence after Mr Beattie had been shot and a group of factory girls marched in silence through the area carrying black bags.

This picture was used by Killing Joke for the cover of their debut album in 1980.

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