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Thursday 8 December 2016

Final march for Bloody Sunday

Steven McCaffery

Published 31/01/2011 | 05:00

People hold up a banner during yesterday's parade in Derry marking the
anniversary of Bloody Sunday
People hold up a banner during yesterday's parade in Derry marking the anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Thousands of people have taken part in what is expected to be the last march to commemorate the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry.

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It was the first mass demonstration since the Saville report last year exonerated the 14 people killed by British paratroopers who opened fire on a civil rights march in 1972.

After the actions of the soldiers were found to be "unjustified and unjustifiable" -- sparking an apology from British prime minister David Cameron -- the crowds that gathered in Derry marched behind a banner bearing the word "vindicated".

Despite calls from some bereaved relatives for the annual march to be continued, most are said to have backed proposals to bring the event to an end, with alternative commemorations to be chosen instead.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, said the findings of the public inquiry had changed everything.

"This time last year we were waiting for Saville," he said.

"We got Saville on June 15 and certainly there is a major change in the atmosphere of the people here."

The day began with a wreath-laying ceremony, where speakers included Presbyterian clergyman Reverend David Latimer, who expressed hopes that healing the pain of Bloody Sunday could help unite the divided Protestant and Catholic communities.

A relatively small number of people, including some bereaved relatives, broke off from the main parade as part of their call for the annual demonstration to continue.

Options to mark future anniversaries of the shootings include a remembrance ceremony, religious service or a yearly human rights event.

Irish Independent

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