People gathered at Derry Free Corner to voice opposition to ‘amnesty’ plans
A protest against the Government’s Troubles’ legacy proposals, widely criticised by political parties and victims as a ‘de facto amnesty’, has been held in Derry on Saturday.
Those gathered at Derry Free Corner in the Bogside included Liam Wray, whose brother Jim was killed on Bloody Sunday.
The event was organised by the Bloody Sunday March Committee (BSMC) and a number of the Bloody Sunday families gathered along with people in support.
Mr Wray said the Government was trying to bring in the new legislation because they were 'frightened' that the 'truth' would be exposed.
“This attempt at stopping prosecutions is not to bring an end to what is happening in this country, it is to cover their asses and that's the way to put it,” he told DerryNow.
“It is up to us to say quite clearly to our politicians, it is not a talking shop and this ain't up for bargain.
“The only way if we are ever to get the full truth, because we know the truth from our side, is the exposing of the military and the security personnel and the only way you are ever going to get that is if you bring them to prosecution.”
Thirteen people and a further 15 civilians were wounded on January 30, 1972 when soldiers from the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry, in an incident which became known as Bloody Sunday.
Earlier this month a former member of the Army's Parachute Regiment charged with the murders of two men and five attempted murders on Bloody Sunday was informed he would not be standing for trial.
The man, referred to as Soldier F, was charged with murdering James Wray and William McKinney in Derry in January 1972. He was the only person to be charged in connection with the killings of 13 civilians that day.
He cannot be named for legal reasons.
On Friday Northern Ireland's political leaders held "robust conversations" with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis over controversial Government plans to ban prosecutions over Troubles-related offences.
The parties outlined their opposition to the proposals in a virtual meeting with Mr Lewis, which also included Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
The meeting came as it was confirmed the Assembly will be recalled next week from its summer recess to discuss concerns over what politicians and victims have described as a "de facto amnesty" for Troubles crimes.
Mr Lewis said on Wednesday that he intends to introduce legislation to create a proposed statute of limitations which would end all prosecutions for incidents up to April 1998 and would apply to military veterans as well as ex-paramilitaries.
Veteran campaigner, Eamonn McCann, told those attending today's protest the government's 'amnesty' proposal would have a huge impact on victims' families' campaigns for justice.
“Make no mistake about it that this will be the end of the legal route, the legal remedy for Bloody Sunday,” he said.
“There is nowhere else to go.
“We have had inquests, we have had enquiries, we have had marches and demonstrations, we have had letters to the press, we have had angry debates in Westminister and at Stormont and the Dail in the south.
“All that has taken place. It has been a tumultuous journey and an awful lot has happened.”
He added: “All that will come to an end, all of it, will come to an end if this measure goes through because it will wipe everything clean.
“And people who have been looking for something which will end this, draw a line under it, move on, this is what it means. I think we should all speak with one voice now and say to the British authorities no we are not moving on. We do not care what you offer us in terms of positions in the future or any sort of bribes of an economic or any other basis.
“To tell them that we are not moving on. Here we stand. We should let them know that we are going to keep right on until the end of the road.”
Also speaking at the protest, Kate Nash, whose brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, urged people to write to their local politicians to highlight their opposition to the 'amnesty' proposal.