Hunger Strikes

When Bobby Sands and nine other Irish hunger strikers starved themselves to death 21 years ago, they caught the attention of much of the world. The first of the Irish republicans to die in the seven-month protest over conditions inside their Northern Irish prison, Sands had refused food and medical attention for 66 days. Although the grisly deaths led to heightened political tensions back in 1981, historians say the hunger strikes also helped to pave the way for the emergence of Sinn Fein as a major political force in Northern Ireland — and for the current peace process.

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