Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday march row after poster lists names of other victims, including British soldier

By Leona O'Neill

A row has broken out over this year's Bloody Sunday march in Londonderry - with scores of republicans preparing to boycott the event due to the appearance of the names of a British soldier and other terror victims on the advertising material.

The Bloody Sunday March for Justice 2018 will take place on January 28 in memory of the 14 innocent civilians shot dead by the Parachute Regiment during a civil rights march in the Bogside in 1972.

The marketing material for this year's event has outraged republicans of all hues, who say the inclusion of names such as William Best, a teenage soldier from Creggan who was shot dead while home on leave visiting his mother, beside dead republicans such as John Brady, a Real IRA man who took his own life while in police custody in 2009, is "an insult".

The material features the words 'We Shall Overcome' above 'Bloody Sunday: March For Justice'.

But also listed are scores of attacks and victims of the Troubles.

They include republican massacres such as Omagh, Shankill and Kingsmill.

Several republican bands have pulled out of the event, including the John Brady Memorial Band from Strabane.

Mr Brady's sister Lorna (43) said that she found the poster "inappropriate".

"My family are annoyed at the organisers because we were not asked if we wanted to put John's name on it," she said.

"There are different names on the poster that I don't believe should be on it.

"Our family fully support the Bloody Sunday families and their quest for justice. I have always attended the Bloody Sunday march.

"The poster just isn't appropriate and it is taking away from what happened.

"There are names of MI5 agents, British soldiers and different things on it. I want my brother's name removed. We are not boycotting the march and we are not asking others to boycott it, we just made the personal decision that we are not attending.

"It is hurtful to see my brother's name on it. My brother was a republican. His licence was revoked so he was interned for seven years. Our family suffered because of this and they are putting his name up beside some of the people who caused it."

Meanwhile, dissident republican group Saoradh has decided to hold its own 'anti-internment rally' and wreath-laying ceremony at the Bloody Sunday monument the day before the main gathering, on January 27.

The group withdrew support for the event claiming the march "needed to get back to its roots".

"Bloody Sunday was an anti-internment rally," said the group.

"However the march, and its fringe events, has morphed into a platform for a constitutional political party. The contradictory, and at times hypocritical material released in promotion of this year's Bloody Sunday rally has ostracised a large section of support for the march."

In a statement, march organisers said that everyone was welcome to attend.

"Everyone, irrespective of their political views, is invited to come to the events and offer their different views on how best to mark Bloody Sunday and on the connections between it and other State atrocities worldwide," it read.

"We don't have to agree on everything. It would be strange if we did in this argumentative city. But it's more important than ever that we stick together.

"The speakers waiting on the platform at Free Derry corner when the shooting broke out were Bridget Bond of the NI Civil Rights Association, the Labour peer Lord Brockway, SDLP MP Ivan Cooper, Presbyterian minister Terence McCaughey and Bernadette Devlin.

"Bloody Sunday was experienced in Derry as a communal wound, the pain of which still throbs and won't ease until all the families and surviving wounded can feel that truth has been told and justice done.

"We urge everyone who seeks justice to come out and show their support and solidarity with this year's programme, march and rally. Together we shall overcome."

Several Bloody Sunday families decided to stop the annual march after David Cameron's 2010 apology for the "unjustified and unjustifiable" killings, but a number of relatives, including Kate and Linda Nash whose brother William was shot dead on the day, have kept the march going annually to demand justice.

Belfast Telegraph

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