Prime Minister O'Neill made his "Ulster at the crossroads"' speech on television on 9 December 1968, appealing for calm in Northern Ireland.
As a result of the announced reforms, the more moderate civil rights associations declared halt to marches until 11 January 1969. The People's Democracy ignored the government's statement.
Events escalated until August 1969, when an Apprentice Boys of Derry march was attacked after trying to march through the nationalist Bogside area of Derry.
The Battle of the Bogside 1969
The RUC intervened, and a three day riot ensued between the RUC and the Bogside residents (allied under the Derry Citizens' Defence Association. Rioting spread throughout Northern Ireland, where at least seven were killed, and hundreds wounded.
A moving interview from 1969
Thousands of Catholics were driven from their homes by Loyalists. These events were often seen as the start of the Troubles.