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A Troubling Sunday


            Few outside of Ireland today know about the events of January 30, 1972, also known as "Bloody Sunday Massacre," other than the fact that it was the inspiration for the U2 song. Little is known about the British occupation of the Derry's Bogside District of Ireland, near the Irish/North Irish border and the civil unrest that this occupation caused between the Catholic and Protestant residents of the district. The actual troops who occupied Derry's Bogside were the British Army's 1st Parachute Regiment. During a peaceful protest of the occupation and rule of Great Britain over Ireland, a gunfight broke out between the British regiment and Irish protesters; however, the protesters were unarmed, yet the British Army's 1st Parachute Regiment was never found guilty of their murders during the "Bloody Sunday Massacre" on January 30, 1972.
             According to Dr. Martin Melaugh, professor at the University of Ulster, Bloody Sunday began as a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) protest march consisting of between 20,000 and 30,000 people marched in Derry to protest British military internment of Northern Ireland. The march, the biggest ever organized by the Civil Rights Association, peacefully made its way towards Guildhall Square. British troops blocked the route at William Street so the people were forced to assemble at "Free Derry Corner" in the Bogside area. Suddenly, armored cars appeared from behind barriers and headed for Rossville Street. British troops effectively boxed in hundreds of people on waste-ground between the Flats and William Street. Soldiers spilled out of the armored cars, their helmets identifying them as Paratroopers. None of the soldiers carried batons and shields as riot control troops do. All were fully armed with combat rifles and used their rifles as clubs as they waded through the crowd. The heavily armed combat troops began an arresting operation during which thirteen protesters were killed and an additional thirteen were wounded, several others were injured but not shot.


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