The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launches a fresh criminal investigation into the events that led to what is known as the Bloody Sunday massacre.
In 1972, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association organized a protest march that was met with British Army barricades. Several protesters, mostly youths, decided to confront the soldiers with stones. The Army soldiers responded with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Allegedly, the soldiers were then given the go-ahead to open live fire, fatally wounding 14 people. These events played a large part in boosting the campaign against the partition of Ireland and the separatist objectives of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
An initial report by the Widgery Tribunal exonerated the British soldiers of any guilt. However, a second report chaired by Lord Saville found that the protestors had not posed a serious threat and the soldiers unnecessarily opened fire. The report took 12 years to compile and cost £195 million, making it the longest and most expensive investigation in British history.
The witness statements provided for the Saville inquiry cannot be re-used and the PSNI is urging people who were present on the day to come forward and give their statements again.
According to the PSNI's Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, a team of 15 detectives has been assigned to the case, which could take up to 4 years to complete. "We will go where the evidence takes us," Gillespie announced.
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