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BBC NI's Tara Mills reports
20 IRA bombs exploded all over Belfast on Bloody Friday
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Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Controversy over victims' plaque

Nine people were killled on "Bloody Friday"
A plaque to honour the victims of an IRA spate of bombings has sparked a political controversy in Belfast.

Nine people were killed and more than 130 were injured when 20 IRA bombs exploded throughout the city on 21 July 1972, which became known as Bloody Friday.

Lord Mayor Bob Stoker: Important to remember victims
Lord Mayor Bob Stoker: Important to remember victims
Many of the victims' families attended the unveiling of the plaque at Belfast's City Hall by Ulster Unionist Lord Mayor, Bob Stoker.

But Sinn Fein members of the City Council stayed away from the ceremony because they said that the dedication on the plaque did not recognise that the police and army had also carried out acts of violence.

The bombs ripped through Oxford Street bus station, hotels and shops.

Relatives of those who were killed gathered in the City Hall to mark their shared grief.

The families said it was important to remember the victims, despite the length of time that has passed.

Tom Donnelly lost a relative on Bloody Friday
Tom Donnelly: The pain of loss carries on
Tom Donnelly, a brother of one of the victims, said it was difficult to erase the memories of that day.

"People may say it's a long time, dry your tears," he said.

"But your tears never dry - especially in the quiet and stillness of the night, if you let yourself concentrate on it, you can't do it."

The Council said it hoped the memorial would in some small way help those affected.

Sinn Fein said victims of security force violence should be recognised
Sinn Fein said victims of security force violence should be recognised
The Mayor said: "One lady I spoke to lost two sons aged 18 and 19, and no words can express her sadness and loss. You just can't imagine the hurt that she suffered."

Sinn Fein councillors who stayed away from the ceremony said the memorial should include those killed by the Army and RUC.

Relatives For Justice spokesman Mark Thompson said that the plaque did not recognise violence against the community by the security forces.

"Murder is murder murder - the same logic applies to victims."

He added that his group, which represents victims of state violence, intended to voice their concerns about the matter with the Equality Commission.

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