Justice For Bloody Sunday – what Cameron SHOULD have said.

Justice For Bloody Sunday
Five years on from the publication of The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, this video showing what the British Prime Minister should be saying about justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday was played to the crowd at the end of the 2015 Bloody Sunday March.

This year’s march was led by twin banners one showing solidarity with the people of Ferguson (where Michael Brown was recently shot dead by police) declaring simply #BlackLivesMatter and one from the Bloody Sunday families.
The guest speakers at the march were Patrisse Cullors  founder of Dignity and Power Now and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, she has worked promoting law enforcement accountability across the USA and the anti-austerity, anti-water charges campaigner Clare Daly, independent socialist TD for Dublin North.

As a online version of this solidarity,  links to the video above were posted to Twitter under the joint hash tags #BlackLivesMatter and #DerryLivesMatter.  If you are a Twitter or Facebook user we invite you to retweet that message or post your own comments and photographs of the march with those twin hashtags.  Lets get those hashtags trending!!

Bloody Sunday march 2015 reaches Guildhall Square

Bloody Sunday march 2015 reaches Guildhall Square

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Statement on PSNI investigation

What follows was issued as a Press Release by the Bloody Sunday March Committee on 29 January 2015

On the Joint Statement about PSNI investigation

Before Christmas the Bloody Sunday March Committee launched an initiative in pursuit of securing joint action with local parties and organisations in response to the halting of the PSNI investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday. Members of the committee met with Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the Bloody Sunday Trust and the Pat Finucane Centre.  After these meetings it was agreed to prepare a joint statement which everyone could sign up to in relation to this crucial matter.

In the end there were fundamental differences in the way we wanted to address the issues, which could not be bridged. The trust has decided to issue their statement today.

Key to those differences is the linked references in their statement to “the 43rd anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre” and “the 5th anniversary of the publication of the Bloody Sunday Report.”  There is an implication here that what happened in the Bogside in January 1972 and what happened in Guildhall Sq in June 2010 were events of equal magnitude. This is, of course, untrue. An atrocity and a report on an atrocity are not equally significant things.

While this will be obvious to all of us in Derry, it might not be so obvious to others elsewhere. That formulation of words could be used by elements not well-disposed towards the truth about Bloody Sunday to downgrade the atrocious character of the paratroopers’ assault on the people of the Bogside. An implication could be drawn that what was done on Bloody Sunday had been balanced, so to speak, by the report by Lord Saville.

In the interests of openness we include our original statement in full below.

 

Bloody Sunday March Committee Statement

“Nearly five years have passed since the publication of the Bloody Sunday Report which completely exonerated those who had been murdered and injured on that day and which – although failing to reflect the responsibilities of senior military or political officials – held British soldiers responsible for their deaths and injuries.

“Since then a PSNI investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday was effectively halted by the Chief Constable. Another PSNI investigation has just been started.

“We welcome this resumed investigation. We fully support the families and the injured, who have a right to a proper, speedy and effective police inquiry and a right to expect that those responsible for murder or attempted murder should be brought before the courts.

“It is understandable after all this time that some will remain sceptical as to whether the investigation will lead to those responsible for the killings and woundings being charged. This will be the test of the investigation and indeed in the PSNI themselves. It should be pursued vigorously, diligently and effectively, following where the evidence leads, no matter how high in the military or political hierarchy this might reach.

“Assurances on this score would help rebuild confidence damaged by the chief constable’s action in halting inquiries.

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Programme Launched – ‘RESIST’

Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash at the Launch of the Bloody Sunday March Committee's 2015 programme of events to mark Bloody Sunday
Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash at the Launch of the Bloody Sunday March Committee's 2015 programme of events to mark Bloody Sunday

Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash at the Launch of the Bloody Sunday March Committee’s 2015 programme of events to mark Bloody Sunday

On 14th January  the Bloody Sunday March for Justice programme of events  for  2015 marking the 43rd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, was launched.

Eamonn McCann and Kate Nash welcomed the press and others to the event.   This year’s theme is ‘Resist’ and the programme will reflect the resistance to continued attacks on civil rights and liberties weather in Ferguson USA, Palestine, Dublin, Belfast or indeed here in Derry itself. The programme for 2015 will continue the tradition of acting as an inclusive platform for the seemingly disparate ongoing campaigns concerning the people of these islands and beyond. As in previous years it is a time to join together, make connections and raise our voices in solidarity. Some of the highlights of this year’s programme can be seen below.  A completed  programme will be available at www.bloodysundaymarch.org from next week.


Thursday, 22nd January City Hotel 7.30pm
’Where does the Stormont Agreement leave the Bloody Sunday Investigation’
Bernadette McAliskey (chair) with an invited panel of speakers to include Liam Wray, brother of Bloody Sunday murder victim Jim Wray.

Thursday, 29th January, City Hotel 7.30 pm
’Unmasking Injustice – from the Hooded Men to the Craigavon Two’
Bernadette McAliskey (chair), Francie McGuigan (former hooded man), Packy Carty from Justice For The Craigavon Two and Darragh Mackin KRW Law

Saturday, 31st January, Pilots Row Community Centre 12 noon
Resist!
Diane Greer (Chair), other speakers confirmed include Mary McManus Housing and Welfare Rights Belfast, Louie, performance artist and Yes Campaign Glasgow, and the Revered Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson USA

Saturday, 31st January, Pilots Row Community Centre 2.30 pm
’The State We’re In’
Speakers include Patrick Murphy (Irish News), Kitty Holland (Irish Times) and Brian Feeney (Irish News)

Saturday, 31st January, Nerve Centre, Magazine Derry 7.30 pm
No Justice, No Peace – From Guantánamo Bay to Ferguson USA’
Chair Eamonn McCann, speakers include: former Guantánamo Bay internee Moazzam Begg and the Reverend Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson, who will speak about the killing of the young black man Michael Brown by the Missouri state police.

Sunday, 1st February, Creggan Shops 2.30 pm
Annual March & Rally for Justice
This year’s march will finish at Guildhall Square in Derry City Centre where we are delighted to announce that the Reverend Sekou Osagyeyfo from Ferguson USA and the anti-austerity, anti-water charges TD Clare Daly TD will address the rally.

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Video of Ferguson Solidarity Vigil

Ferguson Solidarity @ Free Derry Wall

This is a short record of the vigil held on  Saturday 29th November 2014,  by the Bloody Sunday March Committee including  members of the Bloody Sunday families at Free Derry Wall, in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th last.

 

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Hands Up Don’t Shoot

Solidarity Gathering:  Bloody Sunday – Ferguson

Hands up Don't shoot

Hands up Don’t shoot

Members of the Bloody Sunday families will take part in a vigil at Free Derry Wall tomorrow (Saturday 29th November 2014) afternoon in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th last.
The announcement on Tuesday that the police officer who fired the fatal shots is not to face charges sparked angry demonstrations across the US.
The vigil, at 2.30, has been called by the Bloody Sunday March Committee, while includes some of the families of the victims of the Derry massacre.
Said one of the organisers, Kate Nash, yesterday: “The parallels between Ferguson and Derry are obvious – ordinary unarmed people, mainly young men, shot down by the forces of the State as they went about their peaceful business, and their families then abandoned by the law. We want to send our good wishes and solidarity to Michael’s family and the people of Ferguson and let them know that many around the world are thinking of them and speaking up for them.”
“The Bloody Sunday families have been campaigning for 42 years to have the killers of our loved ones brought to justice, and our campaign is unfortunately far from over. We hope and pray that the Brown family do not have so long a struggle before them – or any of the families the others, mostly African Americans, killed by racist police in the US in recent years.”
“We should remember, too, that the slogan on Free Derry Wall was first written up in solidarity with young people fighting against oppression in the US. The connection is there, and we want to put it to practical use at this time.”
“We ask as many Derry people as possible to attend at 2.30. We want to be able to send the Brown family pictures of solidarity from our town to theirs.”
For Further Information contact 07751604523
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Truth about the past is withheld

Journalist and Civil Rights Campaigner Eamonn McCann

Journalist and Civil Rights Campaigner Eamonn McCann

by Eamonn McCann

On Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 Eamon McCann wrote an opinion column in the Irish Times.

He started:

“At the Tory party conference in Birmingham last Sunday, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers said she was hopeful talks aimed at resolving problems to do with public spending, flags, parades and the past would begin within weeks and conclude before the end of the year.

One of the reasons this won’t happen is that the government of which she is part has no intention of allowing the truth to be told about its forces’ role in the Troubles.

The chances of loyalist or republican paramilitary groups making a clean breast of it are slim at best. The chances of the British government owning up are zero.”

You can still read the whole article  on the Irish Times website.

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Rundown of inquiry Denounced

IMG_4295

Rundown of Inquiry Denounced by Families

IMG_4308

The run-down of the police inquiry into the Bloody Sunday murders is just the latest episode in the British State’s avoidance of the truth about its own role in the Troubles.

The new investigation was supposed to be stand-alone. But now it’s to take by far the biggest hit in the cut-backs in policing. That’s a political decision, not a cost-cutting measure. It shows what a low priority is being placed on bringing those responsible for Bloody Sunday to justice.

The report of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal was political. Lord Saville gave all British politicians and the army top brass a clean bill of health. All the blame was put on one middle-rank officer and nine rank and file paras. That finding did not follow from the evidence. But it followed the usual pattern of official inquiries.IMG_4301

 

accepted no blame

That was the reason David Cameron was able to give his apology at Westminster. He apologised for the murders, but put it all down to rogue soldiers. He accepted no blame on behalf of the government, the British Army or the Parachute Regiment.

In light of this new decision, making the police inquiry meaningless, the double-talk and hypocrisy of Cameron’s apology is even more glaring.

If the powers-that-be were truly sorry for Bloody Sunday, there would be no question of scaling the investigation back. What hope is there now for truth and justice for the families of those shot down by the paras in Ballymurphy six months before Bloody Sunday or the families of the two men murdered by paras on the Shankill eight months afterwards?

IMG_4297 latest chapter in a cover-up

What we have here is the latest chapter in a cover-up which was under way before the smoke had cleared from Rossville Street. It’s the same cover-up strategy seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere that soldiers from major powers are exposed for killing innocent civilians.

The PSNI inquiry had been making painfully slow progress. Now it has effectively been brought to a standstill. This decision was ostensibly made by the PSNI. But there is no doubt whose interests are ultimately served. To whom is Chief Constable George Hamilton accountable in relation to this decision.

 think again

If the Westminster Government or police chiefs in the North think that we don’t have the energy or determination to keep on campaigning until we get full truth and justice, they have another think coming.  Those who believe that there’s nothing left to march for in relation to Bloody Sunday should also think again.IMG_4295

not a narrow issue

This is not a narrow issue relevant only to one community in the North. It is relevant to everyone everywhere who believes that when the State kills its citizens it must be made accountable. The Bloody Sunday issue remains a key test of democracy.

 

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End of March for Justice 2014 addressed by Stafford Scott

Stafford Scott addressed  the rally at the end of the of  the 2014 Bloody Sunday March.  He was introduced by Bernadette McAlliskey.  Here is a video of what they said:

Stafford Scott is a community activist from Tottenham, London.   In his talk he makes many links between his experiences in London and our experiences in Derry.   He talks of  how  the state learned from what it did in Derry, and across the six counties, and how the behaviour of the state’s representatives in Derry in the 1970s connects to the Metropolitan Police’s shoot-to-kill policy, that claimed the life of Mark Duggan in Tottenham in 2012.

He sees many parallels between the lives of  people  in Tottenham  and in Derry and especially  between the campaign for justice in Tottenham and the campaigns for justice here.

He concludes the address with the slogan of Mark’s campaign:

“No Justice, No Peace, No Justice No Peace, No Justice, No Peace!  Derry I salute you  – One love, peace!”

That slogan echoes the words of Martin Luther King:

“Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice”.

We have a way to go yet and getting there concerns us all, and as Stafford says:

“It is critical that we support each other.

It is critical that we hold each other’s hands in this march for justice.”

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1st Feb 2014: McCann on Goya’s “3rd May 1808 In Madrid”

On Saturday 1st February 2014 Eamonn McCann returned to the recently launched Robert Ballagh Mural in order to talk about the painting by Goya which inspired Ballagh.  Here is a video of that event:

This talk was part of the Bloody Sunday March Events for 2014.  Before the panel discussions opened at Pilot’s Row on Saturday, Eamonn McCann took a group of people across the street to the new Robert Ballagh mural in Glenfada Park. There he gave a short talk on the significance of Francisco Goya’s anti-war painting “The Third of May 1808 in Madrid” (El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid).

The talk took place in front of the new rendition of Robert Ballagh’s ‘pop art’ version of the painting entitled, “The Third of May – After Goya, 1970″. The new rendition by local artists was tweaked to incorporate the Derry skyline.

The location has poignant resonance with another date. It is at the corner of Glenfada Park  –  just feet away Jim Wray, William McKinney, Gerard McKinney and Gerard Donaghy were shot and fatally wounded on Sunday 30th January 1972.

McCann’s talk ranges through the history of Spain at  the time of Goya’s original painting, through the Spanish Civil War,  to modern issues about art in Derry.  Along the way he visits the many art works, including Picasso’s Guernica, inspired by Goya’s work.

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Launch of the Exhibition on the Disappeared

On Monday 27 Jan 2014 at 7:30 we launched  the Exhibition on the Disappeared.  There was a palpable air of deep respect and solidarity in the room as members of Bloody Sunday families met members of the families of the Disappeared for the first time.  Below is a video of that event. Unfortunately the image deteriorates somewhat towards the end as the camera lens was cold and the room warm.  Hopefully this does not detract too much from the importance of what is being said:

Given the theme of this year’s March it was very fitting that this exhibition was displayed as part of our schedule of events.   Of the many ongoing injustices as a result of the conflict here, that of the seven families who have yet to recover the bodies of their loved ones is one that cries out to be brought to its natural conclusion.

We were honoured to host the exhibition and to be able to facilitate and support the families in a small way in their quest for justice.

The exhibition is now going to tour other areas of the country.

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