'Deep hurt and distress' caused to victims in Derry after Apprentice Boys parade says Eastwood
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has requested a meeting with the Apprentice Boys of Derry after a band marched in their annual parade wearing the insignia of the Parachute Regiment.
The Clyde Valley Flute Band took part in Saturday's parade with the insignia of the regiment on their uniform.
Police officers surrounded the band and escorted them throughout the parade route.
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Mr Eastwood said the incident was a matter of "profound regret" which had caused hurt to victims.
“Derry has been a model of respect, reconciliation and leadership when it comes to parading. Communities have sought to secure mutual accommodation, even when relationships have been tense," he said.
“It is a matter of profound regret that a band chose to march on the streets of this city displaying a motif of the Parachute Regiment on their uniform. This has caused deep hurt and distress to many victims in Derry.
“The Apprentice Boys need to understand how people feel about this. They need to listen to the voices of those who have been hurt."
The symbol of the Parachute Regiment is controversial in Derry due to the actions of its soldiers on Bloody Sunday.
On January 30 1972 thirteen civilians were shot dead by the regiment, one died later in hospital.
Mr Eastwood said that he wanted to meet with the Apprentice Boys to "convey the pain" of those affected.
“We have requested a meeting with the Apprentice Boys to convey the very real pain that people are feeling and to help them understand the effect that this decision has had on community relations in our city," the Foyle MLA said.
"It is my sincere hope that we can return to the space of accommodation, understanding and respect.”
Parachute Regiment symbols have been used across Northern Ireland to show support for Soldier F, charged with two of the murders on Bloody Sunday and the attempted murders of four others.
Banners in support of the ex paratrooper have been erected in loyalist areas across the province, with Soldier F set to appear at court in Derry next month.
Following Saturday's parade police said that five people had been arrested on suspicion of public order offences.
Police also said that a report would be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service in respect of the behaviour and symbols of one band in the parade.
Belfast Telegraph Digital