The Anglo-Irish Agreement, signed on November 15, 1985, sought to address the conflict in Northern Ireland by establishing regular communication and cooperation between the British and Irish governments. While the agreement was seen as a step towards peace by some, it was met with vehement opposition from many in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Protests against the Anglo-Irish Agreement took various forms, from street demonstrations to hunger strikes. Many unionists saw the agreement as a betrayal of Northern Ireland`s place within the United Kingdom, and feared that it would lead to a reunification of Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party, led by firebrand preacher Ian Paisley, played a prominent role in the opposition movement.
The most high-profile protest against the agreement was the 1986 Loyalist Strike, which saw thousands of Protestant workers walk out of their jobs in protest. The strike lasted for several weeks and caused significant economic disruption, but ultimately failed to force a withdrawal of the agreement.
Other forms of protest included the Ulster Says No campaign, which saw mass rallies and demonstrations across Northern Ireland, as well as Hunger strikes by some opposition leaders.
The protests against the Anglo-Irish Agreement highlight the deep divisions that existed within Northern Ireland, and the challenges of achieving a lasting peace in such a context. While the agreement did not bring an immediate end to the conflict, it laid the groundwork for future peace negotiations and helped to establish a framework for cross-border cooperation that has continued to benefit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.