Belfast is a busy city with a troubled past violence spread all over Northern Ireland and from the 60's through the 90's there was literally a war being fought. Assassinations, bombing, arrests that many viewed as unwarranted. Mistreatment of the prisoners were excuses for demonstrations and by 1978 the dispute escalated into a protest where prisoners refused to leave their cells to wash and spread excrement on the cell walls.
The first hunger strike of 53 days was staged in 1980. In 1981 a second hunger strike took place. One striker, Bobby Sands was elected a Member of Parliament during the strike raising the media profile immensely. The strike was called off after 10 of the strikers, including Sands, died. The hunger strike lasted about 66 days. This situation radicalized Irish Politics for years to come and helped Sien Fein to become a political party.