Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday: Veterans plan 'mass rally' in Derry against PPS decision

Alan Barry
Alan Barry

By Leona O'Neill

Campaigners are planning a large 'Paratroop Regiment Rally' in Derry to protest against yesterday's decision to prosecute over Bloody Sunday.

The Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans group is asking former soldiers to join them as they "descend en masse on Londonderry" to protest at the decision to charge a former paratrooper with murder.

The Public Prosecution Service yesterday said it believed there was enough evidence to prosecute 'Soldier F' for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

He also faces four counts of attempted murder.

Alan Barry, founder of the group, said he would talk to ferry companies and coach operators to allow former soldiers "to come and march on Londonderry to show people we will not tolerate one of our own being prosecuted".

He said: "We are not happy. One paratrooper prosecuted is one paratrooper too many. It should have been none.

"We are putting out a call to as many veterans who served in Northern Ireland and want to travel over and descend on Londonderry and march through the streets.

"We will show people that we will not tolerate one of ours being prosecuted when 300 convicted killers were released from jail and 150 'on the run' letters were handed out to those who weren't apprehended."

He added: "You cannot absolve the republican movement of their crimes against humanity and then decide it's acceptable to come after an elderly veteran. It's totally disproportionate.

"Casualties of war... innocent victims will die in war. And the relatives need to just get over it and move on. We were fighting a war against the IRA. And the IRA used these people as human shields that day."

He added the marchers wouldn't "care who they offend".

"The march will be soon. We are in the planning stages now. We are looking to coordinate with ferry companies and coach operators so we can come in great numbers," he said.

"We are looking to bring hundreds of veterans to Londonderry.

"We don't care if there is any objection to this. Bring it on."

Belfast Telegraph

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