Parachute Regiment condemns Derry flags ahead of Bloody Sunday anniversary

Bloody Sunday

The Parachute Regiment has described the flying of its flags in Londonderry ahead of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday as "unacceptable".

The flags were reportedly erected in the Newbuildings and Drumahoe areas of the city over the weekend.

Widespread condemnation has followed and calls for them to be removed.

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Thirteen people were killed when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the city in 1972. Another of those wounded died later.

UUP Leader Doug Beattie tweeted: "The flying of the Parachute Regiment flag on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday it wrong.

"It does nothing but hurt the victims who still grieve to this day & shows a total lack of respect and compassion. Please take them down."

In response to Mr Beattie's tweet, the Parachute Regiment tweeted: "100% agreed. Totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour."

Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson called the flags a "deliberate attempt to stir up tensions".

She said: "I have stood with those families in recent days, they are steadfast, courageous and determined in their campaign for truth and justice for their loved ones. 

"I am calling on all political parties and community leaders to condemn the erecting of these flags and to use their influence to have them removed immediately."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood described the flags as "a blatant attempt to upset people in the city".

He added: "The anniversary of Bloody Sunday should be a moment for people in Derry and across this island to come together and reflect on the loss of 14 innocent lives.

"This attempt at cheap point scoring is shameful and should be condemned by everyone."

Alliance councillor for Foyle Rachael Ferguson said the flags are "hurtful to the Bloody Sunday families" and others in the city.

“I don’t doubt for one second the vast majority of people who live in these areas didn’t back the erection of these flags and political representatives from all quarters should condemn this," she continued.