Socialist Worker

Bloody Sunday victims' relatives protest over delayed report

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2193

Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday are protesting outside Downing Street, the Ministry of Defence and Buckingham Palace today, Wednesday.

The protest is over delays to the publication of the Saville Report into the 1972 massacre when British troops killed 14 civil rights marchers in Derry.

It is due to be delivered to the government on the week of 22 March, but will not be given to the relatives for at least two weeks after that.

They fear it could be amended or have parts withheld by government agencies.

'We are worried we won't get the report in good time,' said Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was killed on Bloody Sunday.

The Saville Report is the second official report into Bloody Sunday. The first, conducted by Lord Widgery shortly after the shootings in 1972, was a whitewash.

'It is clear we are coming to the end of an era, the Widgery era,' said Tony.

'We feel it is important to mark this occasion regardless of what the report actually says or does to settle the outstanding issues of truth or justice around Bloody Sunday.

'We will be returning a symbolic copy of the Widgery Report to Downing Street to reclaim our history and give back the British Army version of what happened on Bloody Sunday.

'This is the end of Widgery, and we are looking forward to being able to live and deal with a more acceptable version of what we know are the facts and the truth,' he said.

At the Ministry of Defence the families returned an infamous shot list drawn up by former Chief of General Staff of the British Army, General Mike Jackson. This claimed to record which shots were fired by the army on the day – but contradictory versions have since emerged.

The families will hand in a list of the dead and injured at Buckingham Palace. The queen presented an OBE to parachute regiment commander Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford just months after the massacre.

Tony, said, “Wilford was no hero, the dead and the injured were the real heroes who went out that day to demand civil rights and ended up as targets for the Paras. Wilford should be stripped of his honour.”

Meanwhile, another delegation of relatives are also travelling to Washington to highlight the campaign.

John Kelly, whose 17-year old brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, said, “We feel that is very important to take our just demands of truth and justice at this time to both Britain and the US. Just hours after our loved ones were mown down on the streets of Derry by the Parachute Regiment, the British embassy in Washington was able to describe and condemn the dead as gunmen and bombers.

“We cannot allow an open field for the British government, either officially or unofficially, to stage and manipulate the release of the report for their own ends. While we are confident that our long campaign for truth and justice will be completely vindicated, the next few weeks will be crucial in seeing the hated Widgery Report entirely repudiated.”

For more information go to » setthetruthfree.org

For background read the article » Bloody Sunday in Derry


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Wed 17 Mar 2010, 12:35 GMT
Issue No. 2193
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