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Date Set For 34th Annual Bloody Sunday March

With hopes that the famed Saville Inquiry is about to be unsealed, members of the Bay Ridge Irish American Action Committee are preparing to once again march for the 14 souls killed on Bloody Sunday. The 34th Annual Bloody Sunday march will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on February 12 at the corner of 58th Street and 4th Avenue. A memorial mass where mourners will remember those lost during “the Troubles,” and pray for lasting peace in Ireland as well as justice for the Bloody Sunday Victims will take place at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Basilica, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street, at 1 p.m., organizers said. Bloody Sunday recalls the horrific assault on peace protesters at the hands of British paratroopers in Derry, Ireland, back on January 30, 1972. According to the history books, a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march of 20,000 citizens had been organized to call for equality for the Catholic minority in the country’s segregated northern end. At the time, Catholic marchers followed the example set by Dr. Martin Luther King as they let their voices and staunch determination serve as tools for change instead of their weapons or fists. Claiming that the protesters were armed, members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment blocked the march, moved in and opened fire on the crowd, killing 14 men and injuring 13 more. Nearly half of those killed were under 18 years old, protesters said. To this day, the British government has yet to apologize to the relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday. The closest thing was an admission by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said that their paratroopers “shot indiscriminately into the crowd.” Blair ordered a new investigation into the massacre. That investigation, called the Saville Inquiry, should be entering its final phase this month, according to those keeping tabs on the investigation. However, family members of those killed back in 1972 have been told that the inquiry was close to completion last August. Officials handling the Inquiry said that because they had to view so much material, they did not know exactly when the official report would be unsealed. “It is very important to remember what happened,” said Mary Nolan, one of the organizers of the protest. “The majority of those killed were in their teens. They were young people who wanted to bring a peaceful resolution to their lives. But the massacre set the whole process back. To this day, there is still a lot of sadness and hatred for the Brits.” While many still demand justice for the Derry 14, many residents continue to participate in the Bloody Sunday march in order to keep the dreams of those peaceful protesters alive – a dream where everyone is treated as an equal. “It is important to remember the dreams that these young people had and lost that morning,” Nolan said. A Bloody Sunday march and memorial mass has been held every year by the Bay Ridge Irish American Association since 1972. It is the only memorial held outside of Northern Ireland on an annual basis. For more information, contact (718) 833-3405.

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