by James Quigley
The Bloody Sunday March For Justice took place on Sunday Jan 29 2017. It commemorated the Bogside Massacre in Derry in 1972 where 14 people were murdered and 14 injured when British Troops opened fired on peaceful, unarmed protesters against internment.
However the march was not the only event but the culmination of a week long series of events. This year's event was titled 'One World One Struggle' where the common and indeed international element of struggle against State violence, injustice and cover ups was highlighted. I congratulate the organisers and support the families of Bloody Sunday victims as well as all people who suffer injustice and intimidation. I encourage anyone who believes in 'One World One Struggle' to read Bloody Sunday March For Justicein the hope that they might come out next year or indeed anytime to support such a cause.
One little incident marred what was an otherwise exceptional week, an incident which I believe was at odds with the essence of Bloody Sunday March For Justice and the exposition of violence. During the march a shout of 'Aim to kill' could be heard clearly several times from what seemed to be a marshal of one of the bands. Perhaps I mistake the intention or meaning however, for people that might take such a violent call at face value, accompanied by uniformed personnel marching in formation, it is incongruous with anti violence and injustice.
It was noted that at several events during the week speakers spoke critically about Sinn Féin who in fact were very noticeably absent from the march. Even Kate Nash, from the platform, said "seven years ago there were attempts to shut the march down but that did not sit well with us. We felt that the battle had not been won. We knew the Bloody Sunday victims deserved more. Here we are today still on this platform demanding justice for the families of Bloody Sunday." see Derry Journal article.
Some events during Bloody Sunday week
Internment Then and Now
Former internee Francie McGuigan who was one of a number of men brutalised by the British army here in the early 1970’s, which became known as ‘the hooded men’
Joanne Donnelly, spokesperson for the ‘Craigavon Two’ campaign outlined the background to the imprisonment of the two men Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.
Moazzam Begg ex detainee of Kandahar; Bagram; Guantanamo Bay spoke about his experiences of interrogation and imprisonment at the hands of British and American security services while also locating the use of internment by both states in a more global context.
Climate Change, Nonviolence, and A Spirituality for Our Times
Alastair McIntosh, a Quaker, peace activist and author from the Isle of Eigg, Scotland and Bernadette McAlliskey, a Northern Ireland civil rights campaigner, an atheist and as she described herself 'maybe an anarchist' discussed religion, spirituality, nonviolence, climate change and community empowerment in the context of nonviolent resistance to injustice, war and environmental destruction.
You'll Never Walk Alone
This event will contrast the experiences and the struggles of three very different campaigns in pursuit of truth and justice.
Having campaigned for many years, suffering deep disappointments along the way and having only relatively recently come through a gruelling inquest process where the jury returned a unanimous verdict of ‘Unlawful Killing’, Sheila Coleman, Hillsborough Justice Campaign, talked about the Liverpool families long running campaign for truth and justice for the 96 Liverpool fans.
Marcia Rigg’s brother Sean died in Brixton police station in August 2008 after being held in a state of prolonged restraint by police officers. Marcia talked about her families campaign for their brother and her work with the London based ‘United Families & Friends Campaign’, which is a coalition of those affected by the deaths of their loved ones in police, prison and psychiatric custody and which offers support to others throughout Britain in similar
Belfast man Raymond McCord has been campaigning since 1997 following the murder of his son Raymond junior by the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). Deeply angered and frustrated by the lack of interest coming from unionists politicians within his own community Raymond went on to carry out his own investigation, discovering that the murder of his son had been sanctioned by North Belfast UVF commander Mark Haddock. Later discovering that Haddock was a police informer who wasn’t questioned for the killing of his son.
All event videos will be found on the Bloody Sunday March For Justice web site in due course.