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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Jonathan Porter/DPA/PA Images File photo. The Free Derry sign in the city's Bogside area.
# tensions
Free Derry sign graffitied with support for British soldier facing prosecution for Bloody Sunday murders
Soldier F is set to be charged with the murder of two people killed on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

THE FREE DERRY sign in the Catholic Bogside area of the city has been daubed with graffiti showing support for a former British soldier who is facing prosecution for two murders on Bloody Sunday. 

The graffiti on the wall – just below the Free Derry text – bears the word “Soldier F” with a Parachute Regiment flag stencilled above it, Derry Now reported.

Soldier F is the designation for the former British soldier who is facing charges over his alleged role in the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry on 30 January 1972.

He is expected to be formally charged with the murders of James Wray and William McKinney. He is also to be prosecuted for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said that it has been made aware of the incident and is making further enquiries. 

The announcement that there would be charges brought comes after a long campaign from family members of the victims of Bloody Sunday. When the news broke in March, families said it was “vindication” for their decades-long fight.

Soldier F is the only former British soldier set to be prosecuted over their role in Bloody Sunday. 

The Free Derry slogan was first painted on the gable end of a house on Lecky Road in the city’s Bogside area in the early hours of 5 January 1969.

It followed the securing of the Bogside and Creggan neighbourhoods by local activists after an incursion into the Bogside by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. 

Residents subsequently built barricades and carried arms to prevent the RUC from entering again, and ‘Free Derry’ became an autonomous nationalist zone until 1972.

After the killing of journalist Lyra McKee earlier this month, a message was written under the sign saying “not in our name RIP Lyra”.

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