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Dublin: 2°C Monday 25 January 2021

Thousands protest in London against ‘Soldier F’ prosecution over Bloody Sunday deaths

Soldier F is charged with the murder of William McKinney, 27, and 22-year-old James Wray

soldier-f-protest Demonstrators gather in Parliament Square, London as part of a protest for Soldier F Source: Aaron Chown via PA Images

THOUSANDS OF FORMER servicemen have brought parts of central London to a standstill in protest against the prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ for his alleged role in the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Soldier F, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the only person from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment ever to face trial over the deaths of 13 civil rights protesters and one passer-by in Derry in January 1972.

He is charged with the murder of William McKinney, 27, and 22-year-old James Wray, and the attempted murder of four other men – Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

He faces a final charge of “attempted murder of a person or persons unknown”.

Soldier F learned he was to be prosecuted in March of this year and the case is currently in its preliminary stages in Northern Ireland.

Today, thousands of ex-soldiers and their supporters, including hundreds of bikers, took to the streets of London to protest against Soldier F’s prosecution.

soldier-f-protest Motorbikes drive down Whitehall in London as part of today's protest Source: Aaron Chown via PA Images

soldier-f-protest Demonstrators gather in Trafalgar Square, London for today's Soldier F protest Source: Aaron Chown via PA Images

Bloody Sunday

On 30 January 1972, in what would become known as Bloody Sunday, British soldiers fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians who were taking part in a civil rights march in the bogside in Derry.

In all, 28 people were shot.

Thirteen people died while another person succumbed to their injuries a number of months later.

The Widgery Tribunal was held immediately afterwards and largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame.

A second investigation, the Saville Inquiry, was set up in 1998; in 2010 the report was published, and found that the killings were both “unjustified” and “unjustifiable”.

The Prime Minister at the time David Cameron apologised on behalf of the UK.

The British government has said that it will cover the legal costs of the soldier who faces the serious charges. 

Includes reporting by Press Association

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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