Irish tourists and local Cubans held a commemoration in Havana at the Irish Hungertrike memorial on Sunday evening to remember Booby Sands who died on hungerstrike in Long Kesh prison on the 5th of May 1981.
Over 60 people took part in a commemoration in central Havana, Cuba, last Sunday to remember Irish Hungerstriker Bobby Sands (27) who died in Long Kesh prison in May 1981.
A wreath was layed at the monument and a number of individuals spoke at the event. The crowd was made up of Irish tourists while a number of Cubans along with residents of other south American countries also attended.
Those in attendance then observed a minutes silence in memory of Sands and his nine comrades.
Who was Bobby Sands?
Sands was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner who was serving 14 years in for possession of weapons which were found in the boot of a car in which he was travelling following a gun battle between IRA members and British troops in Belfast. At the time of his death he was the youngest elected member of the British Parliament (his election took place during his hungerstrike - he received over 30,000 votes in the Fermanagh/South-Tyrone constituency).
While in prison British authorities removed Prisoner of War status for imprisoned members of paramilitary groups and instead labelled them as criminals. Such measures were opposed by the IRA and the smaller Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who considered themselves legitimate armies fighting against an occupational force.
As the opposition mounted the republican prisoners called a hungertrike - 7 members of the IRA and 3 members of the INLA died before the protest was called off. During that time Bobby Sands was elected to the British Parliament as an MP while another two were elected to the Irish Parliament.
Britain eventually restored special category status for paramilitary prisoners following the hunger strike. The strikes were also seen as the beginning of Sinn Féin's electoral strategy.
Following his death many of Sand's writings were published, including the novels "One Day in My Life" and "Skylark sing your Lonely Song". A collection of his poetry entitled "Prison Poems" has also been released. Sands also wrote the lyrics to the songs "Back Home in Derry" and "McIlhatton" which were both recorded by Irish musician Christy Moore. Another one of his poems, "Sad Song for Susan" has also been recorded as a song by various artists.
Over 100,000 people attended Sand's funeral in Belfast. His death lead to widespread rioting throughout Northern Ireland as well as protests in the south of Ireland, England, Soviet Union, France, Scotland, USA, India, Norway and elsewhere.
There are streets around the world named after Bobby Sands including in Tehran, Paris, Hartford, Nantes, St.Etienne, Le Mans, Vierzon, St.Denis and Elahieh