Eastwood to nominate Bloody Sunday families for Nobel Peace Prize
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said he will nominate the families of Bloody Sunday victims for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Eastwood said it would be a fitting tribute for the families' “long fight for truth and justice”.
Thirteen civil rights protesters were shot dead by British soldiers and 15 injured in the Bogside area of the city on January 30 1972.
Another man shot by paratroopers that day died four months later. While many consider him the 14th victim of Bloody Sunday, his death was formally attributed to an inoperable brain tumour.
An immediate inquiry, led by then-lord chief justice Lord Widgery, was labelled a whitewash after it largely cleared the soldiers of blame.
After years of campaigning by victims' families, then-prime minister Tony Blair ordered a new inquiry in 1998.
The Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 that none of the casualties were posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting and then-prime minister David Cameron apologised in the House of Commons, saying that the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
Last year prosecutors recommenced a case against a former soldier, known as Soldier F, charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on Bloody Sunday.
Mr Eastwood was among those attending 51st anniversary commemoration events in Derry on Sunday.
A remembrance service was followed by the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the Derry Corps of the Order of Malta, a voluntary ambulance organisation.
The SDLP leader said: “The Bloody Sunday families have gained respect and admiration from across the world over their 51-year battle for truth and justice.
“They have faced down the might of the British establishment who tried to cover up the events of that dreadful day, blackening their loved ones' names in the process, but they never stopped fighting for what's right and remain an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere.
“Derry and the North has come a long way from the events of Bloody Sunday and with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement approaching we should be proud of our achievements.”
He added: “These people have been put through a horrendous ordeal, but throughout they have shown no bitterness and kept on with a quiet dignity and the assurance of one who is just in their cause.
“No matter what has been thrown at them, they have never given up hope and have used their platform to support and educate others advocating civil rights, peace, justice and reconciliation.
“Simply put, the Bloody Sunday families embody the spirit that is needed if we are ever to come together and build a truly shared society and better future for us all in a new Ireland and I can think of nobody more deserving of being honoured for their immense contribution to life here over the past five decades plus.”