British and unionist politicians fumed at the existence of Free Derry. But internment had stiffened the area’s resolve.

  • Civil Rights protestors from Derry met the Paras for the first time a week before Bloody Sunday, when they were batoned off the beach during a peaceful protest near Magilligan Prison.

    Background to Bloody Sunday

    On Christmas Day 1971, the PD and Sinn Fein broke the ban on marches. On 2 January NICRA announced it would follow suit. The ‘illegal’ marches compounded establishment rage.

  • The marchers reach the top of Westland Street in the Bogside (Robert White)

    The March

    Fifteen thousand gathered in Creggan to march against internment. The weather was crisp, bright. Reports circulated of barbed wire across all exits from the Bogside, and of paratroopers behind the barriers.

  • Behind the army barricade in William Street (William Rukeyser)

    Opening fire

    At 3.55pm, away from the riot in William Street, the British army opened fire. John Johnston (59) and Damian Donaghy (15) were hit. John Johnston died from his injuries in June 1972. 

  • Father-of-six Barney McGuigan

    The Shooting Continues

    Kevin McElhinney (17) was shot dead as he crawled towards the doorway of Rossville Flats.

  • A Model of the Bogside constructed for Widgery Tribunal

    The Widgery Tribunal

    The British army labelled the victims gunmen and bombers. They claimed their soldiers had met a “fusillade of fire”. No soldier or vehicle was hit.

  • Funeral Mass at St Mary's Church, Creggan (Derry Journal)

    The Funerals

    The Bloody Sunday funerals were mass events, attended by political, civic and religious representatives from around the world.