Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Parachute Regiment 'disgraced' in Bloody Sunday report

A relative of Bloody Sunday victim Jackie Duddy is comforted by Martin McGuinness as she marches from the Bogside area of Londonderry to the Guildhall to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare

The victims of Bloody Sunday were innocent and their names have been cleared, a relative said today.

Tony Doherty, whose father Paddy died when paratroopers opened fire, said the victims had been vindicated and the Parachute Regiment disgraced.

To loud applause outside the Guildhall in Londonderry, he addressed thousands who had gathered to hear Lord Saville's conclusions.

He said: "It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday, civil rights marchers, one and all, were innocent, one and all, gunned down on their own streets by soldiers who had been given to believe that they could kill with perfect impunity."

Thousands packed the square as relatives of the dead lined up to give their reaction.

Massive pictures of the protesters were carried aloft on banners and a minute's silence was held to remember the dead.

Earlier, two thumbs raised by somebody inside the Guildhall symbolised the families' delight.

Mr Doherty said: "It was the paratroopers' mission in Derry to massacre. Bloody Sunday wounded Derry very, very badly. We may hope that from today we can begin to bind those wounds."

He said: "When the state kills its citizens, it is in the interests of all that those responsible be held to account. It is not just Derry, or one section of the people, but democracy itself which needs to look out.

"The British people need to know, the Irish people need to know, the world now knows."

He said they were standing up for others who were suffering at the hands of unaccountable power and named the victims of Gaza and South Africa among their co-sufferers.

He added that Bloody Sunday was the price that the Catholic Bogside paid for Free Derry, when it barred soldiers from the streets, and also referred to other victims of state massacres.

"Let our truth stand as their truth too. Bloody Sunday was a great injustice but the fight for truth and justice has also been an inspiration to us and the people of Derry also," he said.

"Nobody who died in the struggle for justice will be forgotten here."

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