The sister of a man shot dead on Bloody Sunday has said the erection of flags for the British Army’s Parachute Regiment outside Derry is “blind sectarianism”.
The flags were put on lampposts in Newbuildings ahead of this weekend’s Bloody Sunday commemorations.
Paratroopers were responsible for killing 14 people in Derry on January 30, 1972, and injuring many others during an anti-internment rally.
Kate Nash’s 19-year-old brother William died and her father Alex was wounded on the day.
She said the flags were “designed to hurt people’”
“It is just blind sectarianism to taunt people. You wouldn’t do it. It is hurtful. I am not paying any attention to it,” she said.
“It would disturb you. And I’m not going to let it disturb me. I have more important things to do.
“I abhor sectarianism and I know that it is just done to hurt people, and I’m just not even going to think about it.”
DUP MP Gregory Campbell denied the flags were sectarian, claiming they were a reaction to bonfires and parades in the Bogside last summer.
“I don’t know about this occasion, but on previous occasions what has happened is that a small number of individuals have put up Parachute Regiment flags and they were in response to something that was done either in the Bogside or around bonfires or around parades, such as the 12th of August,” he said.
BLOODY SUNDAY DISARRAY
Meanwhile, three republican groups have now pulled out of events to mark the 46th anniversary of Bloody Sunday this weekend over what has been described as an irrelevant and potentially hostile political agenda.
The decision by Republican Sinn Fein, the IRSP and Saoradh was prompted after organisers produced a poster which listed a British mercenary soldier who died in the conflict, William Best, alongside massacres caused by the British forces of occupation.
IRSP spokesman Michael Kelly said that following “an emotive internal debate, the Irish Republican Socialist Party have concluded that they will not attend this year’s Bloody Sunday march, nor participate in any events associated with the currently constituted Bloody Sunday committee”.
He also expressed concern that some campaign groups have been denied speaking rights in the past.
Republican Sinn Fein said in a statement that its concerns had not been taken seriously by the Bloody Sunday Committee.
“After long and considered consultation with our membership we have decided that it is impossible for us to attend this year’s Bloody Sunday March, giving the anti-republican message expressed by the creation of the official poster advertising the march, and which has been on display this past week during events run by the Bloody Sunday Committee in Derry City in relation to the march,” they said.
“It was important for us to give consideration to the opinions of the republican community in Derry, who expressed similar concerns and ultimately have taken the same decision.”
Saoradh spokesman Packy Carty confirmed the party will hold its own wreath laying and anti-internment rally today [Saturday].
He said the original Bloody Sunday parade was organised to highlight internment.
“Until such a time as the Bloody Sunday March returns to its roots, we, as a movement, will mark the anniversary and continue to highlight modern British internment and ongoing political repression,” he said.