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Sunday, January 25, 1998 Published at 07:24 GMT


Marchers hopeful of Bloody Sunday inquiry
image: [ Pressure on the government to order an inquiry is mounting ]
Pressure on the government to order an inquiry is mounting

Organisers of a Bloody Sunday march in London say they are confident the British Government will hold a new inquiry into the killing of 14 unarmed Catholics by its forces in Northern Ireland.

[ image: An injured man is helped from the scene of Bloody Sunday]
An injured man is helped from the scene of Bloody Sunday
"We don't want compensation, we just want a result and an inquiry," said protest organiser Joe McKinney, whose 27-year-old brother Willie was one of those shot dead 26 years ago.

"We want everyone to recognise that the victims were innocent."

More than 2,000 people joined the three-mile march through the British capital.

Speaking at its start, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn expressed the continued anger, which has led British Prime Minister Tony Blair to look again at the events of January 30, 1972.

Mr Blair has told Parliament he intends to make a statement on the issue soon, after considering new material from the Irish Government.

Mr Corbyn told the marchers: "People have been telling me Bloody Sunday was a long time ago and what does it matter now.

"But it does matter. I remember it and the families of the victims remember it every day when they get up."

He said an official apology by Britain must be accompanied by another meaningful inquiry.

"We still don't know what happened," he said. "We don't know where the orders came from to fire."

At a time when the Northern Ireland peace process is critical, he added, a resolution of past controversy is essential.

[ image: Bertie Ahern at the Bloody Sunday monument]
Bertie Ahern at the Bloody Sunday monument
The original inquiry by Lord Widgery into the shooting of 14 men and teenagers in Londonderry absolved the British paratroopers of responsibility.

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, on Friday said a full independent inquiry was needed "so that these issues can be laid to rest once and for all".

He added: "All I want to see is that the truth, the real facts of that day, are known."

The British Government has not yet said when it will finish considering the fresh evidence presented to it by Dublin.

But Mr Ahern apparently expects an announcement before Friday's anniversary of the deaths.

Right-wing protesters confront marchers

The march through north London was led by three campaigners who carried a large, white banner, which read: "Peace through British withdrawal".

[ image: A soldier during the Bloody Sunday shootings]
A soldier during the Bloody Sunday shootings
Marchers chanted as they walked but the atmosphere as they set off was peaceful.

But half-way along the route, a group of around 40 supporters of the right-wing National Front party attempted to ambush the march.

They were separated from the marchers by a metal barrier but abuse was shouted between the two groups.

Police had to restrain marchers who were incensed by the National Front's cries of "No surrender to the IRA".

But no violence occurred and police said no arrests were made.


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