An open invitation has been extended to the people of Derry to join the Bloody Sunday families as they gather in the Bogside, before learning whether the soldiers who killed and wounded their loved ones will face charges.
The public is being asked to gather with the families at the Bloody Sunday Monument on Rossville Street in the Bogside at 9:00am this Thursday morning.
The Bloody Sunday relatives now face an anxious wait until Thursday morning, when they are due to hear whether the Public Prosecution Service will lay charges against any of the former paratroopers who were in the Bogside on January 30, 1972.
Tony Doherty, who was nine years old when his father, Patrick, was shot dead that day as he tried to get to safety, urged local people “who have stood with us over the years” to walk with them once again this Thursday.
Speaking ahead of the PPS decision, Mr Doherty, chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust, told the ‘Journal’ yesterday: “It’s a time of some anxiety and tension and that’s understandable, but the families are together and resolute and looking forward to a good result.
“This is a big occasion for the city - not just for ourselves but for the many, many families deeply affected by what happened on Bloody Sunday. Our sense of anticipation is shared by them and we would like to see them in the Bogside on Thursday morning to accompany us.”
Paratroopers shot dead 13 boys and men during a civil rights march on Bloody Sunday, with a 14th dying later from injuries sustained that day. Many more local people sustained life changing wounds. The Saville Inquiry delivered its findings in June, 2010, prompting the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to apologise and say the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable.”
A murder inquiry in relation to Bloody Sunday was launched by the PSNI in 2015, and the files were delivered to the PPS in 2016.
Mr. Doherty said that this will be “another momentous week for the Bloody Sunday families and the people of Derry,” with the relatives hopeful that Thursday will prove to be a “crucial milestone on the families’ road for justice.
“The Bloody Sunday Trust, like most other right-thinking people, believes that those who ordered the soldiers into the Bogside deserve to be in the dock too,” Mr Doherty said. “On Thursday, we again invite the people of Derry to join the Bloody Sunday families at 9.00 am at the monument in Rossville Street as they take a huge stride forward on their journey towards justice.”