Bloody Sunday’s relatives took part in a remembrance walking to commemorate the 50th anniversary.
Irish president Michael D Higgins also led tributes to the men who were killed and said the victims continue to be honoured through commitment to the rights that ‘were won at such great cost’.
British soldiers killed thirteen civil rights activists in London on January 30, 1972.
Four months later, another man was killed by paratroopers.
Although he is often referred to as the fourteenth victim of Bloody Sunday (or Bloody Sunday), his death was officially attributed to an incurable brain tumour.
While people carry photos of the victims from ‘Bloody Sunday,’ they also retrace their steps in the civil rights march of 1972. This is a walking of remembrance for the 50th anniversary
This is just one event in a string that took place this weekend in Londonderry. British soldiers shot and killed thirteen civil rights activists in Londonderry on the 30th of January 1972.
As relatives of victims take part in the Walk of Remembrance at Memorial Garden, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, they hold flowers.
Family members walk past a mural commemorating the victims during a Walk of Remembrance to Memorial Garden to mark the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday
The commemorative event saw the Irish premier Micheal Mart lay a wreath at Bloody Sunday’s memorial.
An earlier event saw relatives of victims and their families take part in a remembrance march and trace the footsteps of the original march.
Before heading to Rossville Street for the annual commemoration service and wreath-laying ceremony, they gathered at Creggan Shops.
Martin, Simon Coveney, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other leaders including Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein President, and Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, also laid wreaths.
During the memorial service, which lasted 45 minutes, were read the names of all those who had been killed or injured.
On Sunday, Mr Higgins gave a virtual address in which he paid respect to Bloody Sunday’s victims and those who died during the Troubles.
He also gave tribute to Derryans and their tireless campaign for justice.
Higgins stated that the 30th January 1972, and your efforts to vindicate it will be etched in collective memory.
“We honor the morality and memory of those who have died today. The men who have died are remembered. They will be remembered by us as we keep fighting for the rights they have earned.
“We are best at protecting the rights we won and maintaining the inclusive, principled peace that was built with us.
“Let’s all be proud that today Derry has triumphed over all darkness, all wrongs and all exclusions. Today Derry is a beacon for hope and justice. A peace, and people who have achieved a dignified, respectful and ethically responsible remembering.
“That is your legacy. That is the legacy for all who have lost their lives that Sunday Bloody Sunday. And on every day thereafter.
“It’s a contribution that must be sustained and expanded.”
During one of the commemorations marking the 50th anniversary, Mr Higgins spoke out.
Pictured is the 1972 Bloody Sunday Riot at Londonderry
Bloody Sunday riots: Demonstrators fled from tear gas following the shooting death of thirteen civil rights activists in Londonderry by British troops
Sunday’s crowd assembled at Creggan Shops, before moving on to Rossville Street to attend the annual service of remembering loved ones and to place wreaths.
The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, will later deliver a recorded message for the Bloody Sunday families
At the Beyond the Silence commemorative event, the president will speak publicly. This will occur in Millennium Forum Theatre.
The message of the speaker will be shown on large screens and live streamed online to an audience.
Adrian Dunbar will host the event and pay tributes to victims. There will also be music and public performances.
At the exact moment 50 years before, civil rights marchers were attacked in Bogside by paratroopers, Sunday’s forum will remain silent.
Adrian Dunbar read the names and addresses of the victims at the Beyond the Silence celebration at the Millennium Forum, Derry.
While a choir performed Danny Boy, images of the 1972 march, subsequent justice campaigns and the Saville inquiry ruling were shown in the background.
The families of the victims were shown photos at the front by their loved ones.
Dunbar stated that the emotion was palpable throughout the city.
“Bloody Sunday” was also mentioned by the Line of Duty actor:
“A cruel and callous Government used a hammer blow to rob the citizens of Derry of their sense of freedom and stop the fight for civil rights.
Thirteen unmarried boys and men from this great city were found dead in cold soil on the Bogside.
“The people of the city were shocked into silence. The lies and propagandism spread around the world to show that the deceased were not innocent. It was revealed that the images and statements of the public were simply a product of imagination or a trick of light.
The travesty, as well as the “rule of law” made the Bloody Sunday massacre even worse.
The highest ranking judge in England, Lord Chief Justice Widgery confirmed the lies, and closed the book.
“So they thought.
“The cause of justice and truth for the innocent died shone brightly within our hearts, minds and those who remained behind.
The perpetrators and those who made excuses for this act of state violence did not consider Bloody Sunday families. They rose up 20 years later from their silence to establish the Bloody Sunday justice campaign. It was the most courageous and effective human rights campaign ever waged.
He finished by reading Seamus Heaney’s Road To Derry.
The event also featured Phil Coulter, a singer-songwriter from Derry.
He said, “It’s always nice for me to return home, particularly on days like this.”
“I have performed the song numerous times, and I can’t think of a better place to do this song than here right now. It is the place I love.
He sang The Town I Loved So Well, while playing his Roland Digital Grand white piano.
Family members of protesters shot by police walk alongside other supporters in commemoration of the 50th anniversary.
One man passes a wall in Londonderry that has a slogan spray-painted on it: “Bloody Sunday, The Day Innocence Dies”.
A woman held a sign reading “It won’t always be this” during today’s Londonderry remembrance marche.
As they walk along the path of the 1972 civil rights march in a walk to remembrance, people hold photos of victims of “Bloody Sunday”
William’s brother, Michael McKinney was killed alongside others on Bloody Sunday. He criticised Britain for controversial plans to prohibit prosecutions of Troubles murderers.
McKinney addressed the crowd and stated that the British government would announce an end of all legacy investigations.
They are afraid and they intend to make it public.
“Scared of their soldiers, spooks, and civil servants being exposed and their role in the conflict in Ireland highlighted throughout the globe.
They are afraid to stand trial.
“But, we want to warn the British government. They will not be able to pursue their ideas if the Bloody Sunday Families do.
“We will not disappear and we will never be silenced”
“We will expose them as they really are, an embarrassment for any democracy built on the rule and law.”
After the service, Martin met with his families privately at the Museum of Free Derry.
He said, speaking afterwards: “It was a privilege be here to meet with the relatives of Bloody Sunday at the 50th anniversary the horrible atrocity.”
“I would like to thank them for the tireless, dignified and brave campaign they have undertaken to promote universal principles of justice and truth, accountability, and fairness.”
Martin stated that all legacy matters should be subject to full accountability.
He added, “I don’t think this will be an amnesty to anybody,”
“I believe the justice and full process of the courts should all be used.
“All the Northern Ireland parties are clear that they don’t want amnesties. They want fair process.
“It’s important, because time is changing too fast for many, and many families. Families need closure.
“Families want to learn more about the deaths of their loved ones. They need information. It is important to ensure that all agreements aren’t just signed but also implemented.
Martin stated that it would have helped if unionist parties had been represented at the anniversary event.
“I believe it is important to recognize others, people from other communities and that that would be helpful.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar remarked: “Today we remember those 14 innocent victims who died in Derry fifty years ago, on Bloody Sunday.
The events of that day cast long shadows over both the city and country, which many continue to deal with.
“We salute and acknowledge the perseverance and courage of victims’ families and those who continue to fight for justice today.
“Their determination serves as an example for other Troubles-related victims that they should never stop fighting for justice.
“We promise to honor the memory of all those who lost their lives on Bloody Sunday, by continuing our work to achieve permanent peace on the island and standing alongside the victims of the Troubles.