In the late 1960s, Derry became a centre of disputes about discrimination and gerrymandering. As a result of the gerrymandering, Derry, a city with a nationalist majority, was under the control of the unionists. The city was also suffering from poor housing and high unemployment levels.
Civil rights demonstrations were banned. When people attempted them, they were violently suppressed by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary). In August 1969, what would become known as the Battle of the Bogside took place. It stemmed from an Apprentice Boys march, which was being protested by nationalists. The battle resulted from the RUC attempting to disperse the nationalists. Three days of rioting followed this.
On 30th January 1972, a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march ended in bloodshed, when members of the 1st Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment, opened fire on the marchers. 26 protesters were shot, 13 died on the day, and one died later on as a result of the injuries.
This day became known as Bloody Sunday. It is such a controversial day not just because people were killed, but because they were unarmed, five of those killed were shot in the back, while running away, and others had already surrendered or were attempting to help those who had already been shot. The paratroopers who fired on the protesters were totally unharmed.