Bloody Sunday

 

Bloody Sunday, or the Bogside Massacre, was an incident on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland (one of the few neighborhoods where Catholics could live in that city).

 

The march down the Bogside

 

 

The marchers on Westland Street

 

British soldiers, members of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment ("Paras") shot 26 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march against internment (indefinite imprisonment without charges or trial for those suspected of being involved in violence). Several of the marchers responded by throwing rocks.

 

Paras versus rock-throwers

 

Rocks against armored Saracens

 

The march had been organized by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA).

 

Paras firing

 

Fourteen people died: thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to his injuries.

 

A wounded protester is removed under fire

 

A wounded protester is removed under fire

 

Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers; some were shot while trying to help the wounded. Other protesters were injured by rubber bullets or batons, and two were run down by army vehicles. The British Army labelled the victims gunmen and bombers. They claimed their soldiers had met a "fusillade of fire," but no soldier or vehicle had been hit.

 

Saracen at Free Derry Corner

 

A common funeral was held for the thirteen victims the following week.

 

The coffins inside the church

 

Six months after Bloody Sunday, Colonel Derek Wilford, the CO of the Paras in Derry, was knighted by the Queen.

 

Thousands waiting outside the church

 

The official British investigation into the incident, the Widgery Tribunal, exonerated the British Army and placed the blame for the tragedy on NICRA for organizing the march.

 

The funeral procession through the Bogside

 

It claimed there was a "strong suspicion" that some of those killed "had been firing weapons or handling bombs," a judgment that ran contrary to the available evidence.

 

All knew this was a whitewash. In 1973, the Coroner who examined the bodies of the victims, Hubert O'Neill, called the killings "sheer, unadulterated murder."

 

Entering the cemetery

 

It was not until 1998 that the British government, after decades of pressure from families of the victims, survivors of the incident, and the Irish government, conducted another investigation, the Saville Inquiry. The Inquiry completed its report after twelve years, and David Cameron, the British Prime Minister summarized it thus: "what happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable."

 

Bogside mural commemorating the dead

 

 

The North Remembers - more Bogside murals

 

To date, the only person arrested is one former Lance Corporal, in November of 2015. He was released and has not yet been charged with any crime.

 

Bloody Sunday in 60 Seconds

 

 

 

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?


                                          "Easter 1916"

                                          W. B. Yeats



I can't believe the news today
I can't close my eyes and make it go away.
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?


                                          "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"

                                          U2

 

U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday