The barricades around Free Derry were taken down within a week, but the determination of the people remained.

 

Resistance to reform grew in parallel to a demand for reform.

In the February Stormont election, DCAC vice-chairman John Hume defeated Nationalist Eddie McAteer for Foyle. Civil rights candidates polled well everywhere.

Within unionism, anti-reform candidates emerged strengthened. Major James Chichester-Clarke replaced Terence O’Neill as a more hard-line Prime Minister at Stormont.

Many towns saw clashes between civil rights protestors and unionists. The police typically intervened on the unionist side.

On 19 April, police burst into a William Street home and battered Sammy Devenny (42) and his family and neighbours. In the Brandywell, a policeman drew a gun and fired twice – the first shots of the conflict in the city.

The DCAC, committed to constitutional campaigning in pursuit of moderate aims, faded out of existence.

Orange marches celebrating the Battle of the Boyne sparked violence on 12 July. At Unity Flats, Belfast, gunshots were exchanged. The British Army was put on standby in Derry.

Sammy Devenny died from his injuries on 17 July. His funeral was the biggest the Bogside had ever seen.

At the end of July, the Republican Club announced that the Derry Citizens’ Defence Association (DCDA) had been established to replace the DCAC. Its purpose was to “defend the area.” Most groups active in the Bogside acquiesced.