BLOGGING FROM A TO Z
A 1970’s Time Capsule
NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY
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Also known as the Bogside Massacre, Bloody Sunday occurred on January 30, 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. 26 unarmed civilians were shot by British soldiers during a protest march against internment (imprisonment without trial which had been rampant in Northern Ireland since August 1971). Note: There are some graphic photographs that I could have used in this post but I chose not to.
Here are some general facts. For more reading, may I suggest the links I have posted at the end below.
- Thirteen people died during the massacre
- A fourteenth man died four months later due to his injuries sustained during the incident.
- Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers
- Some were shot while trying to help the wounded.
- Other protesters were injured by rubber bullets (rubber coated projectiles used in riot control) or batons, and two were run down by army vehicles.
- The march had been organized by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the Northern Resistance Movement.
- The soldiers involved were members of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, also known as “1 Para”.
- There were two investigations held by the British government.
- The first investigation, held immediately in the aftermath of the massacre was the the Widgery Tribunal.
- The Widgery Tribunal largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame.
- The Widgery Tribunal described the soldiers’ shooting as “bordering on the reckless”, but accepted their claims that they shot at gunmen and bomb-throwers.
- The report from the Widgery Tribunal was widely criticized as a “whitewash”.
- The second investigation, the Saville Inquiry, occurred many years afterwards.
- The Saville Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, was established in 1998 to reinvestigate the incident and took 12 years.
- Saville’s report was made public in 2010 and concluded that the killings were both “unjustified” and “unjustifiable”.
- Saville’s report found that all of those shot were unarmed, that none were posing a serious threat, that no bombs were thrown, and that soldiers “knowingly put forward false accounts” to justify their firing.
- On the publication of the report, British prime minister David Cameron made a formal apology on behalf of the United Kingdom.
- Following this, police began a murder investigation into the killings.
During a time in Northern Ireland labeled the Troubles, Bloody Sunday was one of this periods most significant events. Large numbers of civilian citizens were killed, by forces of the state, in full view of the public and the press. It was the highest number of people killed in a single shooting incident during the conflict. Bloody Sunday increased Catholic and Irish nationalist hostility towards the British Army and exacerbated the conflict. Support for the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) rose and there was a surge of recruitment into the organization, especially locally.
If you wish to know more, there are full documentaries on Youtube and here are a few websites with articles on the subject: