Outraged at the early parole of a British paratrooper who killed a Roman Catholic woman, IRA supporters rioted Monday in Catholic areas of Northern Ireland, attacking police and filling the streets with burning cars.
Top figures in the Irish Republican Army movement warned that growing public anger was jeopardizing a 10-month-old IRA truce that brought calm to the province after 25 years of bloodshed.
Pvt. Lee Clegg was sentenced in 1993 to life in prison for shooting 18-year-old Karen Reilly, a passenger in a stolen car that ran an army checkpoint. He was freed Monday after a lobbying campaign by army officers and British newspapers.
Clegg, 26, was only the second British soldier convicted of murder in Northern Ireland, where soldiers have killed some 350 people since 1969. His release unleashed pent-up rage.
IRA sympathizers in workingclass Catholic parts of Belfast burned more than 100 cars, vans and buses within hours of the announcement.