On 30 January 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland, British soldiers fired on protesters, killing fourteen people. Seven of them were under twenty years of age. Bloody Sunday was one of the worst episodes of ‘the Troubles,’ a period of violence in Northern Ireland that lasted from the 1960s to 1998. More than 3,500 people died in the Troubles. The conflict was between the Unionists, who were Protestant and wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, and the Nationalists, who were Catholics and wanted Northern Ireland to become a part of the Republic of Ireland.
In 1971, in response to the violence of the Troubles, the British government introduced internment; this allowed the police to imprison people without trial. On 30 January 1972 the Nationalists held a rally in Derry to protest this new measure. After some initial clashes between the protesters and the army, the soldiers opened fire using live ammunition.
A British inquiry claimed that the march was illegal and that the soldiers were attacked first. The victims’ relatives contested these claims and kept campaigning for justice.
In 2010, a second inquiry overturned the conclusions of the first. It proved that none of the people killed were a threat, and that the army had lost control and fired first.
This year there were many celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, including a Walk of Remembrance in Derry. In London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Bloody Sunday as “one of the darkest days in our history.”