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Word Count: 1,148
Since 1966 the words Northern Ireland have conjured images of violence and bitter sectarian division During that period the six counties that make up Northern have witnessed a depressing display of death and injury as Catholics and Protestants fought each other Between 1966 and 1998 a total of 3636 people were killed and ten times as many were injured as the conflict spread beyond Northern Irelands borders onto the British mainland Anderson 23 Most of the victims were innocent civilians Despite this legacy of violence and mistrust remarkable steps been taken recently towards achieving peace Since 1997 a fragile ceasefire has held among the main paramilitary groups while the Good Friday Agreement of April 10 1998 offers the best hope of a lasting end to the violence However many are quick to doubt this agreement for they have seen these come and go before usually with little help However a few have actually made a difference and brought a brief but sweet respite to the violence Three major events that lead to a break in the conflict were the Peace People movement the Peace Initiative of 93 and the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 For a few brief months in 1976 a peace movement called the Peace People broke out in Northern Ireland that looked like it was going to change the country for the better Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan organized a series of peace marches throughout Northern Ireland McCann 99 They started the movement after three children of Corrigans sister were killed after a car being chased by the security forces veered off the road killing the three young children McCann 99 Catholics and Protestants marched together through the heart of Belfast and other trouble spots McCann 100 Tens of thousands of men and women turned out in support It was the largest non-violent demonstration in the history of the country and was so influential that Williams and Corrigan won the Nobel Peace
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