Army veterans' march moved to Coleraine over safety concerns in Derry
The organisers of a British Army veterans' March for Justice planned for Londonderry have moved the event to Coleraine.
Craigavon man Anto Wickham, spokesperson for the Justice for Veterans UK (JFVUK) group, says that the decision to relocate their march to the Co Derry town 30 miles away came because of serious concerns for the safety of those taking part.
JFVUK had planned to bring 100 British Army veterans to march around Derry on Saturday, March 4 in protest against ongoing "vindictive" criminal investigations involving former soldiers, including those accused over the Bloody Sunday killings in 1972. However, republican groups had called people on to the streets on the same day for a "mass mobilisation" to demonstrate against what they said was "local and national opposition to this charade that seeks to justify the killing of Irish citizens".
JFVUK is now calling on veterans to join them in Coleraine, where they will march from the Royal British Legion and lay a wreath at the Coleraine cenotaph.
"I am happy to say that we will still be holding a March for Justice in the County of Londonderry," said Mr Wickham. "With help from the Royal British Legion in Coleraine, we are now able to parade and carry on our fight for justice.
"It was such a hard call to cancel the parade, as so much hard work had been done by the group, the local Royal British Legion and veterans to make it happen. However, after being in contact with the PSNI and the Parades Commission, and being updated on the threats that were coming in, we could not push on with the march. There was far too much at risk."
The March for Justice will now congregate at the Royal British Legion in Coleraine at 1.30pm and the parade will set off at 2pm.
In January an estimated 1,000 British Army veterans took part in a march to Downing Street in protest at former soldiers being "subjected to witch-hunts" in the wake of the Troubles.