Rioting in Belfast

Freeman’s Journal, 19 February 1921

From the summer of 1920 until 1922 Belfast was gripped by a series of riots and political violence. Many of these riots were sectarian in nature and targeted workers in Belfast’s shipyards, both Catholics and Protestants. This report from the Irish Independent noted one such riot that broke out two days previously, where the opposing sides hurled stones and iron bolts at each other.   

Rioting in Belfast: Revolvers and Iron Bolts Used in a Night Street Fight

A riot, which lasted for over an hour, but was not attended with serious consequences, broke out in Corporation street, Belfast on Thursday. The disturbance began during the passage of tramcars containing workers from Messrs. Workman, Clark’s shipyard, at about six o’clock, when it appears that, arising out of a verbal altercation between some of the workmen and a number of persons standing near New Dock Street, iron nuts and bolts and stones were exchanged between the opposing sections.

Soon the outbreak developed into a serious riot, and revolvers were used indiscriminately on each side.

Elaborate police precautions were adopted last evening in the Dock street locality. At the hour of the shipyard workers’ return stone-throwing took place, but otherwise there was no disturbance.

Military raids were made last evening in the vicinity of King Street, Mill Street, and Chapel Lane with, it is understood, the object of searching for arms, but no seizures appear to have been made.