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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 16:11 GMT
Bloody Sunday footage release calls
31st anniversary of Bloody Sunday
31st anniversary of Bloody Sunday
Protesters have called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to order the army to hand over film footage and photographs of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry.

On the 31st anniversary of Bloody Sunday, more than 30 bereaved relatives and survivors gathered outside the gates of Downing Street in London.

A letter was handed in, which called for the Ministry of Defence to make available to the Saville Inquiry several hours of film footage and over 1,000 photographs taken by the army that day.

Thirteen Catholic men were killed on 30 January 1972 during a civil rights march in Derry when British paratroops opened fire. Another man died later from his wounds.

The soldiers claimed they fired in self-defence at gunmen and nail bombers.

The Bloody Sunday Organising Committee's letter said: "We are informed by the families and the wounded that the army's operation order specified that 10 photographers and one cine-film team (deployed in a helicopter) would execute the mission of providing maximum photo coverage of the civil rights march and all associated incidents on Bloody Sunday."

'Disgrace'

It said that almost five years into the inquiry, none out of over 1,000 photographs taken on Bloody Sunday had been provided nor had much progress been made in locating original cine-film taken at the time

The letter went on: "It is a disgrace that a public inquiry entrusted to investigate a matter of urgent public importance with the purpose of restoring public confidence in Government should have what is clearly hugely important contemporary material denied to it by a Government department.

"It is simply unbelievable that no-one who was in, or formerly employed by, the MoD knows the location or what has become of this material."

It said the MoD had "a significant interest in seeing the inquiry come to conclusions that exonerate the Army in circumstances where the parachute regiment are accused of mass murder".

Film footage taken from a helicopter was played at the inquiry while it sat at the Guildhall in Derry. It showed protesters running around the Bogside.

Still pictures, many of which were taken by news photographers, have also played a major role in the inquiry.

A minute's silence is expected to be held at the Bloody Sunday memorial in the Bogside on Friday and at a commemorative march at the scene of the shootings on Sunday.

Lord Saville and the Commonwealth judges who comprise the inquiry, are not expected to report back until 2004.

The inquiry, which usually sits at the Guildhall in Derry, is currently hearing the evidence from military witnesses and others in London because of concerns for their safety.

Find out more about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry


30th Anniversary

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28 Jan 03 | N Ireland
27 Jan 03 | N Ireland
22 Jan 03 | N Ireland
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