Irish republican activists have claimed a victory after a planned protest march by former British soldiers that had been scheduled to take place through Derry next month has been cancelled.
Relatives of Bloody Sunday victims had called the planned event by military veterans “an act of pure provocation”. John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed in the 1972 massacre, described it as a “deliberate insult” to the people of Derry.
Thirteen people were shot dead on 30 January 1972, and a 14th victim died later, after British soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march. About 100 former British soldiers, including some of those responsible for atrocities, were to take part in a march through the city next month to highlight “injustices against soldiers”.
Mr Kelly said the march could have had a serious effect on bereaved families in Derry, “families still reeling from the crimes of the past, not to mention the ordinary citizens of this city”.
Spokesperson for the Bloody Sunday Trust, Minty Thompson, said holding the march in Derry was a “deliberately provocative act”.
“This city has clearly been chosen because it was the scene of one of the most horrific acts of state violence in our history, Bloody Sunday, and because soldiers who were involved in that event, who shot down innocent and unarmed people on our streets, are at long last being investigated for their actions,” he said.
Saoradh said the decision had been taken “for no other reason” other than the group’s plan to mobilise thousands in opposition to confront this “grotesque military march”.
“Yet again, the proud people of this city have rejected the cowardly British Crown Forces en masse,” the party said.
“This victory should not deflect from the fact that Crown Forces roam our streets daily, with the vocal approval of Sinn Fein and the SDLP. As a Revolutionary Republican organisation, Saoradh will continue to highlight this and challenge Crown Forces and their apologists at every opportunity.”
Saoradh spokesperson Joe Barr added, “I would like to commend the collective efforts of Republican activists in Derry in forcing these British terrorists to withdraw their planned event, a parade that rightly disgusted the vast majority of people in the city.”