McDonald urges support for Civil Rights march

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Sinn Féin Leader Mary-Lou McDonald has said tomorrow’s commemoration of the iconic 1968 Duke Street Civil Rights march, is an opportunity to demand “rights and equality in the here and now.”

The march will retrace the route of the original 1968 Duke Street demonstration.

Mary-Lou McDonald said Derry was a city “synonymous” with the fight for civil rights.

“Fifty years ago, like-minded people from all communities came together to form the Civil Rights Movement, they took to the streets and marched for rights and against inequality,” she said.

“The Duke Street march was to become an iconic moment of the Civil Rights struggle when TV images of innocent marchers being viciously attacked by the RUC were beamed around the world.

“The overt discrimination and brutality of that period may be gone but, in the north today, many citizens are still experiencing a denial of their rights.

“The DUP, facilitated by the British Government, continue to block Irish language rights, marriage equality, access to women’s health and the rights of victims.

“I am calling on people to use this demonstration to demand rights, equality and respect for all citizens in the here and now.

“Derry is a city synonymous with civil rights and the fight for equality. Derry stood up for what was right in 1968 and I have every confidence they will continue to stand up for what is right in 2018.”

Her comments come after local rights campaigners, including those who lost loved ones in the Troubles, Irish language speakers and LGBT rights activists earlier this week urged people to attend the march.

Some veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in the city, however, have expressed criticism that the march will end at Guildhall Square , close to where other commemorations being attended by President Michael D Higgins are taking place inside the Guildhall.