Republican groups to rejoin Bloody Sunday march

Relatives leading the 46th Bloody Sunday anniversary march and rally in January 2018. DER0518GS003
Relatives leading the 46th Bloody Sunday anniversary march and rally in January 2018. DER0518GS003

Republican groups in Derry have confirmed that they will support the forthcoming Bloody Sunday March in Derry later this month.

In a letter announcing their decision, four groups said they would now take part in the march on Sunday, January 27..

Irish Republican marchers pictured during the 2015 March for Justice. DER0415MC141

Irish Republican marchers pictured during the 2015 March for Justice. DER0415MC141

Several Republican factions pulled out of last year’s march expressing discontent and alarm over a number of different issues. The Irish Republican Socialist Party, Independent Republican Councillors, 1916 Societies, 32 County Sovereignty Movement, however, said they will now join those Bloody Sunday relatives, the wounded and others who continue to march along the route from the Creggan Shops on Central Drive to Free Derry Corner.

Setting out their reasoning in a letter sent to the ‘Journal,’ the groups stated: “As Republicans, we welcome the fact that the Bloody Sunday March for Justice seems to have returned its focus on putting the responsibility for injustice where it lies – squarely with the British establishment and its crown forces.

“The murders carried out in Ireland by the British were and are unjust and immoral. They were carried out on the orders of the occupying forces and a government which clearly has no regard for the families of these murdered Irish citizens, in Derry, Ballymurphy or anywhere in Ireland. On this basis, as Republicans we are prepared to show our support and oppose Imperialism on January 27, by taking part in the march and to call upon other like-minded Republicans and socialists to join us at the Bloody Sunday March.”

Various republican groups had withdrawn support over the march last year with some making public statements outlining various reasons.

Saoradh and the IRSP had claimed last year that the Bloody Sunday March Committee was refusing membership to individual family members. The IRSP also hit out at what they alleged was political influence from the Socialist Workers’ Party and People Before Profit.

A spokesperson for People Before Profit hit back at the time that this was “insulting to the diverse organising committee.”

The Bloody Sunday march has been organised to mark the 47th anniversary of the killing of 14 local men and boys by paratroopers in the Bogside during a Civil Rights march on January 30, 1972. The organisers said it will focus on the role and responsibility of the top British officers and politicians from the time.

“The march will call for responsibility for the killings to be laid at the door not only of those who pulled the triggers but of those who ordered that the triggers be pulled,” the organisers have stated.

In 2011, in light of the Saville Inquiry having reported its findings the previous June, over 100 relatives of those killed and injured issued a statement that they would no longer call on the people of Derry and beyond to take part in an annual march and said that 2011 should be the final annual Bloody Sunday march.

Other relatives of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday, however, along with some of the wounded and other campaigners and groups, have continued with the annual march beyond the Saville Inquiry reporting its findings in 2010.

The march this year will move off from Central Drive at 2.30 p.m.