Tens of thousands of marchers marked the 39th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, completing the original march route to Derry’s Guildhall.
The march remembers the 14 people who were shot dead by the British army on January 30, 1972. They were rallying against internment without trial. Another 13 were shot and injured.
Following the publication of the Saville report, on June 11th of last year, this is intended to be the last rally for Bloody Sunday. The report overturned the investigation by Lord Widgery and exonerated the dead and injured.
The march was headed by a banner which read “vindicated.” The relatives of those killed and injured also carried pictures of the victims.
Also among the demonstrators were representatives from Palestinian organizations and the Basque region in Spain.
Ordinarily the march would have diverted to protest at the scene of the killings. However this year the procession took about 45 minutes to pass the junction of William Street and Rossville Street.
The march continued to Guildhall Square where John Kelly, a spokesman of the families, welcomed them. Along with him on the platform were Foyle MP and former SDLP leader Mark Durkan and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.
Also in attendance were members of the Ballymurphy campaign. They are seeking to exonerate those shot by the same parachute regiment in August 1971.
Adams said Bloody Sunday was a turning point in Irish History. He spoke about the Widgery report which “had tried to blame the marchers, tried to blame the IRA and tried to blame everyone except the British army”.
He also commended British Prime Minister David Cameron who apologized in British parliament to the people of Derry.
Adams also called for a full independent, international commission in relation to the Ballymurphy killings.
Mark Durkan said the rally was “possibly the last march, but not the last stand” in relation to truth and justice.
Some relatives of the victims broke away from the main demonstration. A short distance from the scene of the shootings relatives of William Nash rallied at Free Derry corner. They vowed that they would return every year. According to the Irish Times report Linda Nash denied that the relatives of the victims were split. She said there was simply a wide range of opinions about the 27 families.