A dissident republican group linked to the New IRA killers of journalist Lyra McKee has been criticised after it turned out in force for the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration in Londonderry.
More than 1,000 people gathered to remember the 14 who died on January 30, 1972 when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on a Civil Rights march in the Bogside.
The march left Creggan and retraced the footsteps of the original event 48 years earlier.
There was controversy this year after the announcement that a newly formed dissident republican band would be joining the parade.
The dissident republican group Saoradh was represented at the march in great numbers, and dissident supporters used the event to launch the new Tommy Roberts/Stevie Mellon Republican Memorial Flute Band.
Saoradh is regarded as the political wing of the New IRA, which was behind the murder of journalist Lyra McKee during street disorder in Derry last April.
DUP MLA Gary Middleton earlier criticised the display. “It is less than a year since dissident republicans murdered a young woman on the streets of Londonderry,” he said.
“Having weathered the public outrage, those who seek to defend dissident terrorism appear determined to re-emerge and indoctrinate a new generation.”
March organisers said the event was all-inclusive and they couldn’t dictate who could attend.
Speaking at the march Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, said it was important to keep the event going.
“We have been marching a long time,” she said. “It is important to keep going for the people who died that day, and for those who were shot and wounded. They deserve accountability. They were murdered.
“I will never give up the fight for justice. I couldn’t let my brother down like that. He’s not here to fight for himself. But I am and I will continue to do so.”
The main address at the march was delivered by the Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers.
He said there would be those in attendance at the march that might not agree with his message, but he was “going to say it anyway”.
“I am completely and totally anti-violence,” he told the crowd. “Anybody who thinks that violence is going to solve any problems, or perceived problems, will not welcome these comments.
“Violence will put back the unification of Ireland another 50 years. That may be an inconvenient truth for some, but it’s still the truth.”