Northern Ireland news

'Sick' flag protesters celebrate Bloody Sunday deaths

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, has hit out at comments by flag protest organisers celebrating the deaths. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
John Monaghan

A BROTHER of a man shot dead on Bloody Sunday has described as "sick" comments by flag protest organisers celebrating the deaths.

The Loyal Peoples Protest, the group behind a 12-hour Union flag 'vigil' planned for Belfast City Hall on St Patrick's Day, posted an image online of the wounded with the caption: "Paras 14 Republicans 0. Enjoy your day, we did."

The comments appeared on Facebook on the same day that marchers gathered in Derry to mark the 44th anniversary of the killings.

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was one of the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday, told the loyalists responsible to "go and get a life".

He told The Irish News: "It is just typical of the thing that happen at this time of year. These were 14 innocent people who lost their lives, it doesn't matter what side of the community you come from.

"It certainly falls in with their sick mindset when they put up these disgusting remarks."

Mr Kelly added: "It is sadly part and parcel of what we have to face. We believe these people are sick in the head. It goes right back to 1972 when the families received anonymous letters, hate-mongering and sectarian, from the likes of the UVF and others."

On Sunday, several thousand people attended the annual commemoration march amidst heavy rain, retracing the route of the original 1972 protest in which 13 people were shot dead, with another dying later from his wounds.

Following the publication of the Saville report five years ago, the majority of families decided to end the annual march.

However, a small number opposed the move and opted to continue.

Writer and activist Eamonn McCann told marchers he believed the decision to continue marching was the right one.

Mr McCann said: "The Bloody Sunday campaign will be here for many years to come; to stand not just for the cause of justice and truth in relation to Bloody Sunday but to see that this is emblematic of campaigns all over the world for truth in the face of murder by the state."

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