Chronology of Bobby Sands' fast unto death

March 1, 1981 -- IRA member Bobby Sands, serving 14 years at Maze jail for possession of firearms, begins a hunger strike, demanding special status for IRA inmates.

March 5, 1981 -- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits Northern Ireland.


March 15, 1981 -- Maze prisoner Frank Hughes starts a hunger strike.

March 22, 1981 -- Two Maze prisoners, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara, join hunger strike, raising number to four.

March 27, 1981 -- Civil rights activist Bernadette Devlin withdraws from the parliamentary race in favor of Sands.

April 9, 1981 -- Sands, on the 40th day of his fast, wins the by-election in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, beating official Unionist candidate Harry West by 30,492 to 29,046 votes.

April 19, 1981 -- Catholics march to commemorate 1916 Easter Rising, riots break out after two teen-agers are killed by an army Land Rover rushing through Londonderry.

April 20, 1981 -- Three Irish Parliament members visit Sands, riots in Londonderry for sixth night.

April 21, 1981 -- Sands vows to continue fast, Mrs. Thatcher refuses to concede political status, saying 'crime is crime is crime.' More anti-British riots in Londonderry.

April 23, 1981 -- Youths battle security forces.


April 25, 1981 -- Sands refuses to see two delegates from the European Commission on Human Rights.

April 28, 1981 -- Pope John Paul II's special emissary arrives in Belfast to persuade Sands to end strike. Sands refuses.

May 3,1981 -- Sands enters coma. His mother Rosaleen pleads for calm and 'to have no death and destruction.'

May 5, 1981 -- Sands dies at 1:17 a.m., surrounded by family and clutching a gold crucifix.

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