Rioting In Lurgan – Baton Charges By The Police.
The Belfast News-Letter,
Monday, June 11,
Although the Lurgan police, reinforced by 50 men, were equal to the emergency, the night of the 8th inst. was the most dangerous in the recent disturbances. Edward Street – the scene of the wrecking and outrages perpetrated by the Nationalist mobs – is a part of the direct highway between Belfast and Portadown, but for several successive nights all Protestant pedestrians were obliged to adopt a circuitous route in order to avoid it. On the night in question a vast Nationalist gathering assembled in Edward Street and kindled a bonfire at the corner of Waring Street, and the surrounding rabble shouted, sang, cursed the Queen, and cheered for Kruger and the Boers for a considerable time. Then an effigy of Mr. Cordner, whose house had been wrecked, was introduced with the Union Jack in its mouth. This was carried round and round the fire amid great enthusiasm, and then consigned to the flames and consumed to the accompaniment of a doggerel parody invented for the occasion. Notwithstanding the vigilance of the constabulary – which was in no way at fault – the windows of two Protestant houses were broken. But while these scenes of disloyalty and disorder were in progress in Edward Street, a matter of a different character demanded the attention of the constabulary in Hill Street – a Loyalist thoroughfare running from Edward Street to Union Street. It appears that a crowd of youths, mostly from surrounding country districts, and accompanied by a large number of young women, resolved to visit the “Pound” and requite the outrages and insults of the Nationalist party, and for this purpose they appeared, about 600 strong, in the Edward Street end of Hill Street at about 10-45 o’clock. District-Inspector Hill hastened to avert the danger. His efforts were promptly assisted by Protestant employers of labour and leaders of the Orange Institution, who preceded the constabulary and endeavoured to secure the return of the mob by the weight of their influence, but their expostulations were met with a shower of stones, and a baton charge became necessary to repel the invasion. More police were sent for, but the exasperated mob dashed forward again with greater vigour, hurling stones at the police with increased fury. Again Mr. Hill led his men on the charge, and drove back the mob about 600 yards, but no sooner did he hasten back to anticipate any extensive movement by the pro Boers than he was followed by the roughs who ignored the counsel tendered by the gentlemen referred to. The Orange leaders were singled out for special attention, and they did not all escape unhurt. The behaviour of the females was far worse than that of their male companions, and for more than an hour it was a case of advance and retreat, the police being violently stoned and even fired upon by some one in the crowd. Several policemen were struck with stones, and some of the ringleaders of the party made the acquaintance of the batons; but it was not till after six baton charges that District-Inspector Hill succeeded in clearing the street at midnight. As the town was in a very excited state, 100 additional constabulary were sent for, and arrived on the following evening. Saturday night passed off quietly, however, and it is hoped that rioting is at an end; but the claims for malicious injuries will be very considerable.
This Newspaper Article has been reproduced by the kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive Limited, (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).