One Day in August - A report on human rights abuses by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) during and after the Apprentice Boys march in Derry on 12 August 1995.
A must for those who want a good introduction to the parades issue in Derry and elsewhere. | 28 August 1995
On Saturday, 12th August 1995 the RUC mobilised hundreds of their officers in order to force through an Apprentice Boys parade passing next to a nationalist area of Derry. This was done in the face of opposition not just from the residents of the area but from a substantial majority of the citizens of the city.
Approximately 250 peaceful and nonviolent demonstrators, mainly local residents, were forcibly and at times violently removed from a part of the west wall close to Butcher Gate by the RUC. As a result at least three civilians have broken bones, and scores of demonstrators suffered heavy bruising, tenderness around the arms, legs, throat and other parts of the body. A number suffered temporary loss of voice and hearing.
The demonstrators were then corralled into Magazine Street and held there against their wills for 45 minutes as the Apprentice Boys paraded above them. No arrests were made.
Table of Contents
On Saturday, 12th August 1995 the RUC mobilised hundreds of their officers in order to force through an Apprentice Boys parade passing next to a nationalist area of Derry. This was done in the face of opposition not just from the residents of the area but from a substantial majority of the citizens of the city. Approximately 250 peaceful and nonviolent demonstrators, mainly local residents, were forcibly and at times violently removed from a part of the west wall close to Butcher Gate by the RUC. As a result at least three civilians have broken bones, and scores of demonstrators suffered heavy bruising, tenderness around the arms, legs, throat and other parts of the body. A number suffered temporary loss of voice and hearing. The demonstrators were then corralled into Magazine Street and held there against their wills for 45 minutes as the Apprentice Boys paraded above them. No arrests were made.
Despite prior assurances given by the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry concerning the behaviour of their members, a substantial number of Apprentice Boys were involved in behaviour which was abusive, sectarian and sexist in character and calculated to cause offence. Even before the RUC forcibly removed demonstrators from the Wall, members of the Boys were shouting abuse, some of it unprintably crude and offensive, at the demonstrators and at their political representatives. As the Parent Lodges then paraded the walls a small number of Boys acted provocatively, shouting or taunting residents of the area, some of whom shouted abuse back. Neither the RUC nor the leadership of the Apprentice Boys took any action to stop this. Subsequently many Apprentice Boys gathered on the west wall (from Butcher Gate to Walker's Plinth and beyond) and for over two hours were allowed to shout abuse at the residents of Fahan Street, throw bottles at them and taunt children with religious and sectarian utterances without restraint. RUC officers persistently refused to intervene despite calls for action made by local peace and human rights workers until the local RUC Sub- Divisional commander was contacted by a local peace worker. Apprentice Boys were then removed from Butcher Gate but not from the rest of the west wall.
During the main parade through the city centre, some Apprentice Boys, many of them clearly under the influence of alcohol, shouted sectarian and religious abuse at those who were standing watching. A number tried to physically attack onlookers, waving sashes at them and singing provocative songs. Unwilling to confront these members of the Apprentice Boys who were acting provocatively and unlawfully, or to help the stewards who were trying to move their members on, the RUC, using batons and considerable physical force, cleared away onlookers and others going about their lawful business, driving them down Butcher Street and Shipquay Street in a baton charge.
Subsequently rioting began and lasted intermittently until approximately 5.30 am on Sunday, 13 August. In all a total of one hundred plastic bullets were fired by the RUC. A number of people were injured as a result of being hit by plastic bullets, including a local photo-journalist.
As a consequence of these events, the Pat Finucane Centre was asked by the Bogside Residents' Group to prepare a report highlighting alleged human rights abuses which had taken place over the weekend. This is our report. It goes without saying that this is our report and any conclusions drawn are entirely our own.
It is based on the evidence provided by over 40 statements given to the Centre by eyewitnesses to the events. These statements were given by some of those who took part in the demonstration on the walls prior to the Apprentice Boys parade. Other statements were given by residents in Fahan Street, journalists, local city centre workers, businessmen and community workers. Many were going about their ordinary business and found themselves caught up in the unfolding events by being batoned or abused by RUC officers or were at the receiving end of sectarian insults shouted at them by members of the RUC or Apprentice Boys or both. On the specific issue of the number of plastic bullets fired since the IRA ceasefire of 31 August, 1994 and in Derry on the 12th and 13th August we approached the RUC who provided us with the information.
It was not possible to take statements from everybody. We deliberately did not ask for statements from the RUC, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, or any of the political parties or elected representatives who were involved, if only peripherally, in the events of the day. We did this for two reasons. The first was practical. The Pat Finucane Centre is made up entirely of volunteers. We receive no core funding from any Government Department or charity and we do not employ workers. All the material gathered for this report was done by individuals acting in their spare time and in a voluntary capacity. The second reason had to do with the purpose of the report. This report is not intended to be a definitive history of what happened that day. Its purpose is strictly limited: to highlight the abuse and denial of human rights in Derry as a consequence of the Apprentice Boys parade. Its focus is clearly on those who had their rights denied or abused. Its purpose is to tell their story as best we can. Others, such as the RUC, the political parties etc, have frequent access to the media. They can put on record what they want us to hear. The people who get batoned, or have limbs broken, or were shot at by plastic bullets, or the children who are verbally abused by sectarian and sexist taunts, do not usually get access to the media or have an opportunity to say what happened to them. This report is for them.
This is not the first time that the Apprentice Boys parade has caused problems in Derry. Prior to the onset of the present conflict in 1968, Apprentice Boys annually gathered on the west wall and some threw pennies down on to Catholic houses built close to the walls in Nailor's Row. The last time the Apprentice Boys paraded the complete walls was 27 years ago in 1969 and it precipitated the rioting and disturbances which led to the introduction of British soldiers onto the streets of Derry and Belfast. Since then the Apprentice Boys have never been allowed to walk the full walls even though they applied for permission each year. One Apprentice Boy has told us that some Apprentice Boys did parade on part of the controversial section of the wall when Alderman William Hay was Mayor.
Traditionally the Apprentice Boys parade included not just the walls of the city but it passed through Waterloo Place and down the Strand Road to Culmore where the final rally was held. This has some significance because it demonstrates how relatively thin the argument for tradition is, an argument which is often advanced by spokespersons for the various Orange Institutions as justification for their marching in areas where they are not wanted. The fact is there have been significant demographic and political changes in Northern Ireland since 1969. The Protestant population on the west bank of Derry has declined significantly in the past 27 years, as it has in most other parts of Northern Ireland. The current route of the main Apprentice Boys parade, most of which now takes place on the Waterside, reflect those changes.
This is not an argument against the Apprentice Boys parading in Derry. The Pat Finucane Centre has consistently and publicly supported the right of the Apprentice Boys to parade in Derry, and specifically within the city centre which, in our view, should be regarded as belonging to all the people of Derry and its different traditions. We have criticised, and will continue to do so, descriptions of Derry as "a Nationalist city". The view of the Centre is that Derry is an Irish city which should be open to all the different traditions which make up the people of Ireland, including the Unionist tradition. However, in the light of what happened this year we believe that right to parade must now be qualified to include satisfactory agreement concerning the marshalling and stewarding of the parade and the behaviour of the Apprentice Boys. There is a further absolute qualification. When a parade or a march, of whatever religious or political hue, passes through or impacts upon a residential area, then the principle of consent must absolutely come into play. In a divided society like Northern Ireland, where parity of esteem should be a non-negotiable principle of public policy making, no one has a right to parade or march in areas where they are not welcome. And on this, in our view, there can be no compromise. In practical terms it means that if the Apprentice Boys wish to march in future on the west walls of the city it can only be done so with the full and willing consent of the people who live close by, ie the residents of the Bogside.
The Pat Finucane Centre believes that had the RUC told the Apprentice Boys when they made their initial application that they could not parade on the west walls there can be little doubt that decision would have been accepted by the General committee of the Apprentice Boys. The leadership of the Boys could, had they so wished, passed it off as a significant victory for them as it would have resulted in them parading on a significantly larger section the walls than they had been allowed to at any time in the past 27 years. Instead the RUC deliberately pursued a policy of procrastination, allowing positions on both sides to become fixed and opinions hardened. This significantly weakened the position of those within both the nationalist community and the Apprentice Boys who wanted a negotiated agreement to the issue of the route of the parade. To make matters worse, in an appalling self-serving and misleading statement by Acting Deputy Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan two days before the parade, the RUC suggested that they did not have the powers to prevent these parades taking place in nationalist areas. The truth is the very opposite. Under the 'Public Order' Order the RUC have considerable powers to stop parades and re-route marches. They have used these powers extensively in the recent past. They used them to stop Republican (or Republican-perceived) marches in Belfast City Centre until 1993. Recently they used them to stop Orange Order parades down the Garvahy Road in Portadown and the Lower Ormeau Road in Belfast. They stopped a Sinn FÈin march in the centre of Portadown and re-routed a Sinn FÈin march in Belfast that would have passed close to the Suffolk estate. The reality is that the RUC could have prevented the Apprentice Boys parading on the west walls. They chose not to. Instead they preferred to mobilise hundreds of police officers to force the parade through against the will not just of the Bogside residents but the overwhelming majority of people in Derry and their elected representatives.
After the parade Councillor Mark Durkan, the Chairman of the SDLP, said that the damage to the RUC was "irreparable". We concur with that conclusion. In our report we document that:
RUC officers fired 100 plastic bullets in Derry on the 12th and 13th August. Since the IRA ceasefire on 31 August, 1994 the RUC and British Army have fired, in total, 279 plastic bullets in Northern Ireland. (This figure does not include plastic bullets fired on 26th August and subsequently).
RUC officers used an unacceptable degree of physical force to remove peaceful and nonviolent demonstrators from the city walls. As a result at least three people suffered broken bones and many more suffered bruising and temporary loss of hearing and voice.
RUC officers persistently refused to act against Loyalists who were shouting sectarian and sexist abuse at residents and their children in the Bogside, or at people viewing the parade in the city centre.
RUC officers physically attacked and batoned onlookers to the parade, including foreign tourists, workers in city centre shops and people going about their lawful business, occasioning actual physical injuries.
RUC officers time and again used sectarian and sexist abuse against demonstrators, and ordinary residents of this city.
All of this would be totally unacceptable in any society which purports to uphold the rule of law. In one which is as deeply divided as our own and which is trying to develop a peace process that will take violence and the threat of violence permanently out of Irish society, the actions of the RUC were entirely reprehensible. They have done immense damage to the good name of this city and to the fragile community relations which were beginning to improve in the city as a consequence of the paramilitary ceasefires.
Previously we said that the Pat Finucane Centre supported the right of the Apprentice Boys to parade inside the city centre and on most of the walls. We still do though it has to be said that it has become increasingly difficult to defend that right against a background of problematic behaviour of a significant minority of Apprentice Boys. To develop an analogy, the Pat Finucane Centre also believes that football clubs have a right to play football. However if every time there is a football match there is associated serious crowd trouble, drunkenness, abusive and offensive behaviour targeted at the local residents, rioting, and loss of trade on a huge scale in a city whose economy is already weak and fragile, even the most ardent football fan would find it increasingly difficult to defend the absolute right to play football whatever the cost. It becomes even more difficult when the football club itself is unwilling to address the problem and asserts only its own rights against those of the vast majority of people who live and work in the city. In this case it is the unwillingness of the Apprentice Boys to accept the need to reach agreement, to make compromises with the residents of the city, the overwhelming majority of whom want to live with good relations between neighbours.
In this we believe that Derry City Council has a critical and important role to play. Prior to the parade the Pat Finucane Centre issued a statement calling on the Mayor to broker an agreed protocol to cover contentious parades and marches in the centre of Derry. We believe that the Mayor should, as a matter of some urgency, convene a meeting of all the party leaders on the Council (or their nominated representatives). This group within Council should seek to meet with as wide a range of groups who have an interest in the issue, including the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys, the Bogside Residents' Group, the Chamber of Trade. Other groups may also want to make representations and suggestions. The purpose of the Council group would be to facilitate an agreement which all sides within this city can live with and which, we believe, could go a long way to enhance and restore community relations within city.Back to top
Chronology of EventsBack to top
The Londonderry Sentinel breaks the story that the RUC are considering allowing the Apprentice Boys to parade the full length of the walls.Back to top
The SDLP have their first meeting with RUC.Back to top
The SDLP Mayor of Derry, Councillor John Kerr, calls for three year moratorium on marches. Invites the Apprentice Boys to meet with him. Billy Moore, General Secretary of the Boys says this suggestion must be discussed by the General Committee.
Pat Finucane Centre defends right of Apprentice Boys to parade in the city centre and on those parts of the walls which do not overlook nationalist areas. The Centre calls on Mayor to broker protocol on marches involving all party leaders and those groups who organise marches in the city.Back to top
Unionist politicians criticise Mayor John Kerr's proposal for a three year moratorium on marches. Alderman Gregory Campbell of the DUP invites the
"Mayor of Londonderry to view the parade along with thousands of other visitors and local citizens alike in order that some basic misconceptions can be addressed."
Councillor Kerr declines the invitation.
It is widely reported that the Co Down Section of the Apprentice Boys of Derry had issued a statement threatening to blockade Catholic Churches if the Apprentice Boys are not allowed to march down the Lower Ormeau Road or on the contested part of Derry's walls. In response the Governor of the Apprentice Boys, Alistair Simpson, said that there were no plans to blockade any churches. The statement had not been meant for public release and had simply been an internal communication due to be discussed at a meeting of the General Committee next month.Back to top
First meeting of the Bogside Residents' Group in Pilots Row. Agreed to go onto the walls the next day mid-afternoon with a view to nonviolently blocking the parade on Saturday. It was agreed that the protesters would stay all night. That there would be no drink allowed on the walls and that everyone was to remain nonviolent.
Acting Deputy Chief Constable of the RUC Ronnie Flanagan is reported in the Irish Times as saying that the RUC
"has no powers to ban parades or to give permission for them, but only to impose certain conditions where it is judged there is a serious threat to public order."
In the statement Mr Flanagan said that
Back to top
"while a parade might be unwise, offensive or insensitive, these were not legal considerations which enabled the police to exercise powers of intervention".
3.30 pm (approx.). About 75 demonstrators march onto city walls and encamp near the Walker plinth.
SDLP councillors meet with RUC. Meeting ends at 3.00 am on the morning of the 12th. RUC still maintain that they have taken no decision.Back to top
- 7.00 am (approx.). RUC seal off all the entrances to the city centre and the walls which lead into nationalist areas. Only a few workers allowed into city centre. Many are turned away.
- 8.00 am. More demonstrators arrive. Climb onto walls using ladders. Other demonstrators congregate by Butcher Gate. One demonstrator falls off the walls and is rushed to hospital.
- 9.00 am. Negotiations between Mark Durkan, Martin McGuinness, Donncha Mac Niallais, Charles Lamberton, John Tierney and RUC. Some Apprentice Boys gathering in readiness to parade, hurl abuse at the negotiators. RUC agree not to do anything until Chief Superintendent Tom Craig (RUC Divisional Commander) arrives. He never arrives.
- 9.25 am The RUC, using a loudhailer, inform the demonstrators that they are in breach of public order legislation and will be removed.
- 9.30 am. RUC physically remove demonstrators from the walls and, using their batons, corral them in Magazine Street in full view of the parading Apprentice Boys.
- Apprentice Boys march. Shouts and taunts from some demonstrators at Butcher gate. Some Apprentice Boys laugh, wave and call out at demonstrators. Demonstrators in held in Magazine Street turn their back on the Apprentice Boys .
- 10.30 am. Demonstrators are allowed out by Castle Gate. Protest rally held at Free Derry Wall. Apprentice Boys already gathering on the walls overlooking Bogside.
- 11.00 am (approx). Bandsmen and Apprentice Boys who have gathered on the walls by Butcher Gate continue to shout abuse, throw bottles, and taunt the residents of Fahan Street and their children.
- 12 noon. After the intervention of a member of the Pat Finucane Centre and a local peace activist, the local Sub-Divisional Commander orders his men to move the Apprentice Boys from the Butcher Gate area. Many still remain on the west walls.
- 3.00 pm (approx). Bands and Boys from Portadown refuse to obey their own stewards and begin to cause trouble in the Diamond. This is the closest the main parade gets to the Bogside area. The RUC respond by organising two baton charges against onlookers, driving them down Butcher Street and Shipquay Street and then blocking all entrances to the city centre leading from nationalist areas.
- 4.00 pm (approx). Sporadic rioting begins at the top of Waterloo Place by Butcher Gate. RUC fire first plastic bullet in Derry since the ceasefire. Intermittent rioting from this point on until approximately 5.30 am the next morning. A bus is hijacked and driven into the front of First Trust bank in Waterloo Place. Other buildings, including the new Bewley's restaurant and the Inner City Trusts new Conference Centre suffer damage.
The Decision is Taken
News that the Apprentice Boys had applied to walk the full length of the walls of Derry was broken in the Londonderry Sentinel on 3 August. The report confirmed that
"meetings between the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the RUC are continuing over the route of this year's twelfth parade....Representatives of the General Committee have met senior RUC officers to discuss the route of the parade but it is not clear whether or not the city walls, now open to tourists, will be included in the route."
Significantly the Sentinel, a Unionist paper with excellent contacts within both the Apprentice Boys and the various Unionist parties, and whose Deputy Editor is a member of the Apprentice Boys, commented:
"...it is known that the Apprentice Boys are keen to incorporate a larger section of the city walls into the parade route than was the case last year."
The Sentinel also quoted the Governor of the Apprentice Boys as saying:
"The Apprentice Boys of Derry have always defended their right to walk on the city walls. It is our hope that we will, once again, be able to exercise that right as part of the celebrations marking the 305th anniversary of the relief of the city."
The Sentinel added that Mr Simpson said there were no incidents involving Apprentice Boys during the 1994 commemoration.
The fact that the RUC felt the need to discuss the route of the parade with the Apprentice Boys even before the issue became public indicates very clearly that local RUC commanders were well aware that there would be considerable reluctance on the part of the nationalist majority for the parade to include those parts of the walls which pass close by the nationalist Bogside.
In these situations the RUC have consistently adopted a policy of procrastination. Publicly they say that they are still considering the issue and will not announce whether a parade or march can pass along the chosen route until the last possible moment. In the Derry context, this policy was to have disastrous effects. It heightened community tension and undermined the efforts of those working for compromise and agreement.
In a significant statement made after the parade had taken place the Chairman of the SDLP, Councillor Mark Durkan said:
"we in the SDLP engaged in lengthy representations with the RUC in good faith, yet those reasonable common sense points which we made were ignored. Some basic undertakings which the police gave us, such as notifying us of their decision when they eventually made it, were not even fulfilled.
"The Assistant Chief Constable, Freddie Hall, came closest to indicating the RUC's motivation for their decision when he told SDLP councillors that we were taking too narrow a view and he had to consider repercussions elsewhere in the Province if the parade route was not acceded to. He went on to specifically refer to possible rioting in the Waterside and talked of Catholic estates coming off worse. He and the Divisional Commander also revealed that the Apprentice Boys had insisted that they would 'stay stuck' if they were stopped on the walls. The police went on to say that this would create a situation where they could not then bring the thousands gathered for the main parade over the bridge. I interpreted this as the Drumcree card being played.
"The RUC clearly decided that the threat of loyalist violence and unionist protest was greater and therefore yielded to it. That is a very sorry basis for deciding on such sensitive issues. The Assistant Chief Constable's stupid and smug remarks on Saturday in which he dismissed the possibility of there being any valid argument with the police decision and invoked the absence of violence as his vindication was irresponsible. Those remarks were unfortunately decoded by people to mean that the only way to register on RUC thinking is violence or the threat of it."
Such meetings as did take place in an attempt to resolve the issue of the route were between the RUC and either the Apprentice Boys or the SDLP. At almost literally at the Eleventh hour there were several meetings involving one RUC officer of the rank of Chief Inspector and the two elected leaders of the Bogside Residents' Group. No meetings took place between the Apprentice Boys and any forum of nationalist opinion, whether it be the Bogside Residents' or the SDLP. Both the Mayor and the Apprentice Boys made public offers to meet people but in reality the RUC's apparent indecision meant that everybody's strategy was geared more to trying to influence the RUC's decision rather than reach an accommodation.
In a statement made to the Pat Finucane Centre, the Bogside Residents' Group state that on several occasions they were misled by the RUC. At 7.00 am on the morning of Saturday, 12 August the residents were told that the RUC had sealed off all gates into the walled part of the city, specifically including Ferryquay Gate at the top of Carlisle Road. This was untrue. In fact only those entrances into the walled city from nationalist areas were sealed by the RUC.
The Bogside Residents' and the two SDLP councillors (Mark Durkan and former Mayor John Tierney), who were present just prior to the removal of the demonstrators from the walls, have stated that they were told that Divisional Commander Tom Craig would meet with the Residents' and the SDLP councillors before any final decision was made. This did not happen. Indeed just prior to being removed the Residents' were told by a Chief Inspector that he did not know where his Divisional Commander was. Many may think this is relatively small change in the light of what subsequently happened. Yet it reinforces the point that for many the RUC are incapable of being truthful or direct.Back to top
Enter and Exit the Bogside Residents'
"The basic rights of both sides were upheld. One to march, the other to protest." Assistant Chief Constable Freddie Hall.
"It is brutal. They drag, bump, bounce men and women on the hard concrete pavement. Women scream, some in anger, others in pain and fear. But no one fights back." Brian Hugill writing in The Observer, 13 August 1995
"the relatively restrained and well-measured police tactics......The outcome in Derry, with no known injuries and no blood spilled, left a smile on the face of the officer in command on the day, Assistant Chief Constable, North and South Regions, Mr Freddie Hall. His men were sent in, in ordinary uniform, to clear the walls without batons, plastic bullet guns or riot gear in evidence...It was a low-key, minimal provocation approach and it left no deep- seated scars of resentment at the RUC." Dick Grogan writing in the Irish Times, 14 August 1995
The decision to form an action group, known as the Bogside Residents' Group, came fairly late in the day. The Group's members came from that part of the city which was the most directly affected by the prospect of the Apprentice Boys parading on the city walls. (Roughly the full length of the west wall). A meeting was held at 7.00 pm on Thursday, 10 August, in Pilots Row Community Centre. Approximately fifty people attended. At this meeting it was decided to oppose the parade proceeding along the section of Derry's walls which overlooked or passed through the Bogside. It was also agreed that Donncha Mac Niallais, the Director of Dove House Resource Centre, would act as spokesperson for the group and that Charles Lamberton, a youth worker, would be the Chair.
At the meeting the residents adopted a two point course of action. The first was that the Residents' Group would seek a meeting with the Apprentice Boys Committee. If a proposed agreement was reached with the Apprentice Boys, it would have to be ratified by another full meeting of Residents. Secondly it was decided that if there was to be no change in the proposed route, then members of the Group would congregate on the walls at Butcher Gate and seek to nonviolently 'block' the route. If this happened it was decided that, whatever the provocation or however strong the feelings, all protest action would be peaceful and nonviolent.
At 3.00 pm on Friday, 11 August approximately 50 Bogside residents went on to the walls and informed the media of their intention to stay until either the RUC re-routed the Apprentice Boys parade or the parade organisers agreed not to parade on that section. Again it was made clear that at all times the protest would remain peaceful.
Most of those who went up on the walls on Friday afternoon stayed there through out the night and, as the evening progressed, they were joined by many more people until, according to one journalist present, there were approximately 250 protesters spread over a 50 yard section of the walls. They were faced by 68 RUC personnel in a line and below them parked in Upper Magazine Street were several landrovers.
Early in the morning, as the disco at the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall ended, a small group of Loyalists gathered behind the safety of the RUC lines in order to shout abuse at the demonstrators, sing loyalist songs, throw the occasional bottle and wave British flags. In one incident, photographed in the Derry Journal, a Loyalist can be seen standing on a plinth which forms part of the cemetery attached to St Augustine's Church waving a loyalist flag and cat calling the demonstrators. In the event it turned out that this man was a serving officer in the British Army. No action was taken by the RUC to curtail the behaviour of the Loyalists. At no stage did the Bogside protesters respond except good-humouredly amongst themselves.
At one point a Loyalist woman crossed the crash barriers and through RUC lines and assaulted a journalist and damaged his camera. This was the first of a series of attacks, or threatened attacks, by Loyalists against journalists during the course of the weekend.
At approximately 7.30 am the RUC began to seal off all entrances to the walled city centre from nationalist areas. They also lined up on both sides of the demonstrators, effectively boxing them in. One journalist said that in the immediate area visible to protesters there was approximately 20 RUC landrovers. He left the walls briefly and observed dozens more landrovers with several hundred RUC personnel in nearby streets and in the Diamond.
One witness said that RUC personnel first appeared to be preparing to move against the demonstrators at about 8.30 am. He states that he saw a large number of RUC personnel move towards the demonstrators from both directions. He was himself standing on the wall adjacent to the RUC cordon at the Memorial Hall and heard a number of RUC men saying "lets get into them", and "here we go". When one section was temporarily withdrawn he heard one RUC officer say "hard luck lads."
The significance of all of this lies in what was to follow. All observers are agreed that demonstrators acted at all time peacefully and nonviolent. The reporter from the Derry Journal says about the protesters when they subsequently were removed:
"Only a tiny minority of the Bogsiders - who had been sitting on the walls since 3 pm on Friday afternoon - put up even token resistance. None attempted to fight back."
(In this context, 'token resistance' meant adopting a policy of non-cooperation, or of linking arms with other demonstrators). There was not one single report of a punch thrown or even a minor scuffle involving demonstrators.
The RUC began to remove demonstrators at about 9.30 am. The removal of demonstrators took place in full view of the members of the Parent Lodges of the Apprentice Boys who had gathered in Society Street by the Memorial Hall. At least one leading Apprentice Boy shouted abuse of a sexual nature at demonstrators. What then follows is an account given to us by a journalist.
" I watched RUC men pull people by the hair, by the arms, by the legs and bodily off the wall. On a number of occasions I saw them force people to their feet by using pressure holds on their necks and then kick their legs from under them and drag them to a narrow set of steps where they were bodily thrown down the stone steps." He goes on " I heard numerous comments from RUC men such as "Fenian bastards", "Fenian fuckers", "walk or we'll kill you", "throw the bastard off", "scum". I heard a number of the RUC men call protesters by their first names and in particular Raymond McCartney who was sitting on the ground. Three RUC men were around him using pressure points and choke holds to drag him off the wall. At one stage one of the RUC men appeared to be trying to suffocate him by covering his mouth with a gloved hand."
"At one stage a group of RUC men who were holding a man by his arms and legs, told their colleagues at the top of the steps to 'clear the way, we're going to throw this bastard off'. The RUC men at the top of the steps moved back and they attempted to throw him. Because of the sheer number of people there he didn't go very far but he was then set upon and bundled head over heels down the steps."
The demonstrators were subsequently driven into Magazine Street with the frequent use of batons. One of the demonstrators in his statement said:
"When everyone was off the walls, we heard a swell of a roar from the police and they started pushing everyone down Magazine Street. People were being pushed into vehicles on Magazine Street and I was towards the back with the police line behind me. The whole way down Magazine Street they were kicking and punching my leg just below my knee and when I turned to object to this he pulled out his baton to swing at me and missed. They kept us at the bottom of Magazine Street for one hour until they let us go. My injuries are a muscle injury to my neck, to two tendons in my lower right arm, damage to the back of my right knee. I have difficulty sleeping with the pain in my neck."
A member of the Centre was himself kicked and batoned on the upper part of the body. Many of those who came to the Centre to make statements complained of being kicked, of having their arms forced painfully up their backs and of being batoned by the police. As a result of these methods used by the RUC to remove the Bogside Residents' from the wall's a number of serious injuries were sustained. Three demonstrators came to the Centre to document the fact that they had sustained broken bones. One had a bone broken in one of her toes. Another had a broken ankle and another a broken wrist.
The last injury is significant because, according to the person concerned, it was broken deliberately. His hand was being held in what is known as the 'goose neck', ie the forcing of the hand forward against the wrist so that it resembles the neck of a goose. When the demonstrator remonstrated with the police officer who was forcing his hand forward, the police officer forced it down further until he heard the bone break in his wrist.
Another individual who was one of the 14 people shot and seriously injured on Bloody Sunday, had a lip busted open and a bruised neck as a result of being assaulted by an RUC officer.
Other witnesses, including the journalist whose statement we have already used, reported that a number of RUC officers were using abusive and sectarian language, eg calling demonstrators "fenian bastards", "scum" etc.
The Chairman of the SDLP, Councillor Mark Durkan said in the Derry Journal:
"the behaviour of the police on Saturday was disgraceful....They manhandled people in a way that was not necessary and in the circumstances where they knew people were going to remain peaceful. They also adopted a menacing profile as far as the community at large was concerned. They did not police the parade, they policed the ordinary community."
Martin McGuinness of Sinn FÈin said during the course of the removal of demonstrators,
Back to top
"People must remain calm because this is a major victory for the protesting people of Derry, and a major defeat for the RUC."
Boys will be Boys
"It is misplaced to put on the shoulders of the police responsibility for situations which are not of our making and to which there is not a police answer." RUC statement preceding the Apprentice Boys Annual parade
"Actions speak louder than words." Alistair Simpson, Governor of the Apprentice Boys (Irish News. 12 August)
Many Loyalists believe that Irish nationalists are deeply opposed to the Irish Protestant heritage. This is not true and is, in part, somewhat of a simplification. To begin with Orangeism, a tradition to which the Apprentice Boys belong, reflects only one strand of Irish or even Ulster Protestantism. The majority of Irish Protestants do not belong to Orange Institutions and have no intention of belonging. The second is that much of the hostility towards the Apprentice Boys parading in Derry has little to do with opposition to Orangeism as such. Many Nationalists can appreciate the colour, even pageantry and theatre, that goes with an Orange, Royal Black or Apprentice Boys parade. What makes so many people in Derry hostile to the annual parade is the personal behaviour of a significant minority of Apprentice Boys and the inability of the Boys leadership to deal effectively with it. Every year there are complaints made, including some from Apprentice Boys themselves, concerning drunkenness, urinating in public places and the shouting of sectarian and sexist comments.
This year the anger and outrage felt in the city at the behaviour of some Apprentice Boys and their camp followers is both justified and widespread. Those making the complaints include not just Nationalists but includes Derry Unionists and Apprentice Boys who are fed up with being embarrassed each year by the behaviour of some of the paraders.
In our report we document two serious events which will have serious implications for future Apprentice Boys parades. The first was the behaviour of Apprentice Boys who gathered on the west wall, and especially at Butcher Gate, and shouted abuse and threw bottles at the residents of Fahan Street and their children. These events were so reminiscent of the old pre-1968 days when Boys would throw pennies down onto Catholic houses. The second was the behaviour of up to six bands from Portadown whose behaviour led to serious disturbances in the city centre. In both situations the RUC seemed unwilling to act against Apprentice Boys whatever their behaviour and when they did, as they did in the Diamond, it was to baton charge onlookers and shop assistants working in the city centre.Back to top
Boys on the walls
The Bogside was relatively deserted following the parade on the walls by the Parent Lodges of the Apprentice Boys. Most of those who had been demonstrating on the walls had gone home to sleep. The media had left the immediate area to file their stories or to cover the main parade which was to begin shortly across the River Foyle in the Waterside. At approximately 11.00 am a group of uniformed bandsmen and Apprentice Boys, wearing their distinctive Derry crimson sashes, gathered along the length of the west wall from Butcher Gate to Walker's plinth and beyond. All of this part of the walls overlook the Bogside and, at Butcher Gate, is only a matter of twenty yards away from the houses of Fahan Street. On Butcher Gate, the closest the walls get to where Bogsiders live, a group of around thirty Apprentice Boys gathered. RUC officers were also on duty along this entire section of the walls. Butcher Gate itself was blocked by two RUC landrovers facing down into the Bogside. As the Derry Journal reported the
"residents of Fahan Street came under a barrage of abuse from Apprentice Boys congregating over Butcher Gate....bottles were also thrown at local people during the incident which took place directly in front of the RUC." Derry Journal, 18 August 1995.
In a series of interviews given to the Pat Finucane Centre residents of Fahan Street gave their version of events:
"After the march had passed, abuse was being shouted down.... I went up to a policeman and said, 'Look, I'm a resident of Fahan Street. Could you move these people?' And he just stood staring at me."
Another resident said:
"the Apprentice Boys threw bottles and hurled sectarian abuse at us. After moving my children to safety, myself and another resident approached members of the RUC and asked them to remove the people. We were completely ignored."
Both residents and the Derry Journal reporters who were present have confirmed that bottles were thrown down from the walls. The insults that were shouted down at both adults and children included,
"Pervert priests....if you're not killing children you're abusing them",
"You crowd need good Ulster religion,"
"These are our walls" (in a strong Ballymena accent!)
"Up the UVF!" (A women whose father had been murdered by the UDA was one of those verbally abused by Apprentice Boys).
As the verbal abuse and taunting continued two people, one a member of the Pat Finucane Centre, the other a member of a local peace group, demanded of the RUC that they should move the group on the top of Butcher Gate before a serious riot developed. The RUC officers on duty refused to use their radios to report the situation or ask for orders. Eventually a phone call was put through to Sub- Divisional commander Superintendent Joseph McKeever by the representative of the local peace group. Approximately 10 minutes later the crowds was moved away from the top of the Gate but not from the entire west walls.
A Fahan Street resident commented,
"The RUC moved them with as much ease as they could and there was no heavy handedness at all compared with earlier ," when the Bogside Residents' had been forced off the walls. The Loyalists were "moved up a wee bit...which meant that anybody walking along that way (ie along the walkway below the walls where Nailor's Row use to be and which connects Fahan Street to the Long Tower) was still getting verbal abuse."
This situation continued until approximately 1.00 pm.
While these events had an inflammatory effect on the general situation in Derry, it is important to concentrate on how Fahan Street residents themselves experienced this situation.
One family moved their children to safety when the incident began. A woman stayed away from her home for the complete day and when she returned found that a plastic bullet had been fired through one of her windows. She has applied for a transfer. Another resident commented,
"Everyone is disgusted. I still can't believe it happened. That's what maddened me the most. The fact that they were allowed to shout abuse after they marched. I'm not really a bitter person but I was really angry on Saturday. There was anger brought into this house and that's how my mother was almost brought into hospital."
The mother suffered an asthma attack which had been brought on by anxiety shortly after 11.00 am and a doctor was called.
The powerful symbolism that is invoked in Derry by the sight of bowler hatted men in sashes on top of Derry's walls looking down on the Bogside, one of the most deprived area in these islands, cannot be exaggerated. The behaviour of these Apprentice Boys was a clear violation of the assurances given by the leadership of the Apprentice Boys. The unwillingness of the RUC to deal with Loyalists throwing missiles and shouting abuse at both adults and children illustrates further why the RUC remains unacceptable as a police service by so many people in Northern Ireland.Back to top
The Boys from Portadown
One of the most detailed accounts of what happened when the Apprentice Boys from Portadown arrived in the Diamond area of the city centre is given by the Londonderry Sentinel, the local Unionist newspaper. Its report, in the 17 August edition, covered several incidents which included one Apprentice Boy spitting at a well known woman community worker in the city. (She has provided the Centre with a statement). It also described how Apprentice Boys "took their sashes off to wave at them", ie at onlookers and spectators.
The report then continued:
"Then a small number of bands flouted parade regulations and stopped at the Diamond, turned towards the crowds and played and sang 'The Sash' at full volume: some Apprentice Boys danced and traded insults with protesters (sic). A green and white shirt had been flung over a traffic sign near Butchers Street, incensed band members and Apprentice Boys who left the main parade to charge into the seething crowd. Word soon filtered back to London Street and a crowd of youths, who were drinking outside a local pub joined the fracas, hurling cans of lager and pint glasses into the crowd."
The Sentinel report continued,
"Stewards also bore the brunt of some of the parade members' anger, as they tried to remove a banner calling for the release of Loyalist prisoners, and were roughly shoved aside by Apprentice Boys."
There are a number of interesting features about this report. The first is that in the section we have quoted there is no reference to what the RUC were doing when, for example, it reports that Apprentice Boys charged into the crowd or when young Loyalists, fortified by drink, threw beer cans and glasses into the crowd of onlookers. As one witness said to us,
"what was significant was the fact that the RUC made no effort to help the parade stewards. Instead they baton charged the crowd of onlookers who were being attacked by Apprentice Boys and their supporters."
The second, confirmed by eye witnesses, is that the stewards provided by the Apprentice Boys made considerable efforts to deal with the developing situation but were unable to control the behaviour of their own members; indeed at times they were assaulted by them.
The Derry Journal reports that
"there had been gratuitous abuse flying from marching bandsmen to certain sections of the by-standing Diamond crowd for most of the march. And several insults had been hurled back. ...Other marchers had taken off their sashes and waved them in the air - gesturing them towards the Bogside."
The reporter goes on to describe the arrival of the
"County Armagh contingent." He says "At the mouth of (Butcher) Street, the grinning drummer halted his men, turned to face the Bogside and began to bang his weapon louder and louder at the increasingly hysterical crowd. His fellow bandsmen shouted abuse, made fist gestures and at one stage threatened to breach the police blockade into Butcher Street.....Meanwhile a photographer from the Belfast News Letter who was attempting to get pictures, was being repeatedly prodded by a sabre-carrying steward. Threats began to fly thick and fast from both sides. Then a pint bottle of beer was hurled by a ruddy-faced man in a sash towards the Butcher Street crowd. Seconds later a bottle was thrown towards the Diamond from Butcher Street. A melee developed at the police cordon. Apprentice Boys marshals tried to escort the bands along up towards Bishop Street, while the RUC attempted to force the observers back the l00 yards to Butcher Street. "
One of the people who got caught up in the incidents and who was "forced back" around the Diamond was a college lecturer. He and his partner had gone into the city centre to do some shopping and decided to take a look at the parade. In a statement he said,
"One bandsman stopped and words were exchanged between him and my friend. He walked away and then came back and spat at us. It hit my partner. I spoke to the RUC about this but they ignored me. Then there seemed to be an incident around Butcher Street and then the police herded everyone into Butcher Street. The police sealed off both ends. I saw the police move towards us and someone shouted "Sit down" and I sat. Then my jumper was pulled over my head. They swarmed around me and they started kicking me. Then I grabbed one of them by the right leg but then decided to let go. The RUC continued to kick the bottom of my spine. Then pressure grips were applied below my jaw and behind my ears and they put fingers up my nose and deliberately scrapped the inside. They locked my legs and carried me down the street. They told me to 'Shut up, you fenian fucker'. I asked them to put me down but they insisted on carrying me until they dropped me on the ground. My injuries were a bruised shoulder, pressure point pains around the ears, ringing in ears, bloodied nose and emotional stress."
His partner, a community worker, was also assaulted by RUC officers. In her statement she says:
"A cop came up behind me and put his fingers under my jaw and lifted me and then put his arm round my throat and he kneed me in a private area. I screamed as a way of nonviolently resisting. There was a Spanish woman and she was screaming 'Get your hands off her.' They carried me down Butcher Street and he put me down. I stood and put my head down and he then pushed me on the shoulder. This happened again. Then he put my arm in an arm lock and walked me further on down the street. My injuries were a bruise on the left arm, two bruises on my throat, sore hip and sore back and soreness around my groin and an internal soreness."
Several people have come forward, including a journalist, who saw the Spanish student referred to above being assaulted by a male RUC officer. She was eventually pushed out through Butcher Gate.
Another young man witnessed
"a boy being struck by a bottle thrown from the Diamond. People started shouting at the marcher who had thrown the bottle and members of an RUC squad, who were standing on Butcher Street made a charge at us....the RUC squad waded into us with batons."
As the Derry Journal then reports, "within minutes a riot had erupted." Half an hour later the first plastic bullets were fired.Back to top
Some ten minutes after the baton charge which drove people down Butcher Street and out through Butcher Gate, a similar baton charge was ordered down Shipquay Street.
One witness refers to people being
"stampeded down Shipquay Street ...RUC officers shouting abuse at people telling them to 'get the fuck off the streets'...There was men, women and children screaming and shouting and roaring and running down Shipquay Street in absolute panic. I witnessed a few people getting knocked to the ground in the panic."
As these events were happening an employee of a Shipquay Street shop was told by the manager to close the shutters of the shop. As the employee, wearing clearly identifiable regulation shop uniform, pulled down the shutters he was batoned on the legs by an RUC man and told to "get in there ye Fenian bastard." The manager of the shop has confirmed this.
The RUC cordoned off Shipquay Street at the junction of Castle Street before deciding, some minutes later, that the entire street should be cleared. This was done by revving the engines of landrovers and then driving them at speed down Shipquay Street as far as the Shipquay Gate which was then closed off.
The above incident where an employee of a city centre business was batoned was not to be the only attack on a shop worker. A man who works in a Waterloo Street business approached the RUC at Magazine Gate to ascertain whether a lorry driver from Manchester, stranded at the Waterside end of the bridge with goods to deliver to his shop, could proceed. Customers were waiting in the shop. This happened shortly after 2 pm in the afternoon. He continues:
"Just as I was going to speak to a police officer a whole pile of policemen ...about 6 or 7 of them came running towards me and it was just at that I got a whack up the bake.(hit in the face). I was lying on the floor (ground) blood running out of me."
The man was then taken into a local bar in Magazine Street, where he was cleaned and taken to hospital. There he was treated for a black eye and two fractures to his nose. In a statement issued the day before the RUC said
Back to top
" the higher level of economic investment is holding out hope for a better future for all (and) we appeal for leaders on both sides to use their influence to ensure that calm and stability is maintained." Londonderry Sentinel, 17 August 1995.
The incidents in the Diamond provided the "tinder-keg spark" (Derry Journal sub headline) for the rioting which then ensued on the Saturday and Sunday nights. There can be no doubt that the RUC's handling of events from early morning on and in particular in the Diamond area exasperated an already tense situation. Some that we have spoken to have suggested that it was calculated to do just that. Throughout this summer every single manufactured confrontation has been used by the RUC to justify its own cumbersome and expensive pre-ceasefire existence.
In the aftermath of this disastrous "policing" operation trouble flared in several areas of the city centre. A hijacked flexibus was driven into the facade of the First Trust Bank on Waterloo Place. Later a van was set on fire in the Bogside and a crane and lorry were torched at the new Foyleside Development on Foyle Street. A petrol bomb was thrown at the new Bewley's cafÈ later in the night while 35 windows were broken in the Heritage Centre on Butcher Street. In Rossville Street a van was hijacked and burned. The rioting centred on the Castle Street, Waterloo Street, Waterloo Place, Shipquay Street, William Street and Rossville Street areas. A further two vehicles were hijacked, one of which was then burnt when trouble broke out on the Sunday night. Tens of thousands of pounds of damage was done. Local people again suffered. It is self evident that the riots did not further peace and reconciliation on this island.
It is also true that the responsibility for those riots must be laid firmly at the door of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Referring to the riots Mark Durkan of the SDLP said that ,
Back to top
"they should not be allowed to distract from the fact that the community showed great restraint and responsibility in the way it handled its anger on Saturday. That is something in which the ordinary people have the right to take great pride and for which the RUC has no right to claim credit." Derry Journal, 15 August 1995.
Use of Plastic Bullets
"We were astonished by the widespread and indiscriminate use of plastic bullets and by the negligible official response." Dr Tim Shallice, a senior British scientist commenting 14 years ago on the situation in Belfast writing in the New Statesman.
"It is time that the powers that be at police headquarters realised that this is 1995 not 1925." Editorial in the Derry Journal 18 August 1995.
Twenty years ago, on 28 August 1975, 10 year old Stephen Geddis was shot in the head with a plastic bullet fired by a British soldier. He died two days later and thus became the first victim of a plastic as opposed to a rubber bullet. One week after the Apprentice Boys parade an investigation was opened into his death after a former British soldier came forward to confirm the families version of events, that Stephen was an innocent victim.
The first plastic bullets fired by the RUC on 12 August were actually fired on the Lower Ormeau Road in Belfast at around 8.20 am. Residents of the Lower Ormeau had blocked a section of the road in order to stop 20 Apprentice Boys marching through their area before departing for the Derry parade. As a result one man was seriously injured by a plastic bullet and at least two others injured.
In Derry plastic bullets were first fired at Butcher Gate at approximately 4 pm. Rioting had broken out following an RUC baton charge down Butcher Street and Shipquay Street. This baton charge was itself triggered when loyalist bandsmen from Portadown provoked local people standing in the Diamond. According to the report in the Derry Journal (15 August 1995) the RUC then " fired the first plastic bullet fired in Derry since the ceasefire."
From around 4pm on Saturday until early on the Monday morning the RUC fired exactly one hundred plastic bullets in Derry. The press and the RUC report only one confrontation between some 50 Loyalists and the RUC which occurred on Spencer Road in the Waterside on the Saturday afternoon. According to the Londonderry Sentinel (17 August 1995) "the RUC came under attack from stones and bottles but succeeded in dispersing the crowd." This did not involve any use of plastic bullets although two RUC men were injured. It can therefore be assumed that all 100 were fired in confrontations with nationalists.
Several issues arise from this intensive use of a lethal weapon which has caused the deaths of 17 people, including 7 young children in Northern Ireland and the maiming of many hundreds of others. Plastic bullets, 3.5 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter, have a muzzle velocity of 160 mph. Official regulations regarding the use of plastic bullets specify that they should not be used at a range of less than 20 metres and that the weapon is only intended for use where the life of an RUC officer or British soldier is placed at risk. It should also be noted that the US army regard plastic bullets as lethal weapons.
Plastic bullets were fired from the top of Castle Gate at alleged rioters from a distance of 13.9 metres. Several hundred people were gathered in the Castle Street / Castle Gate area at the time. The owner of a local business premises reported dozens of plastic bullets bouncing off his shutters between 6.00 and 7.30 pm when he left the scene. A Derry Journal photographer, Stephen Latimer, was among those injured by a plastic bullet in the Castle Gate area. He received treatment for a badly swollen and bruised ankle.
Another man was hit by a plastic bullet fired from the top of Castle Gate at around the same time. He collapsed and an ambulance was called. The man who was "passing blood and had severe bruising" was kept in hospital overnight. Many of the people we have talked to have referred to plastic bullets being fired under minimum range and at head height throughout Saturday and Sunday night.
At Butcher Gate plastic bullets were fired in a direct trajectory at residential houses opposite. One householder who had fled her home on the Saturday morning due to her proximity to the walls returned on late Sunday afternoon to find her front living room window broken. Her neighbours informed her that a plastic bullet had rebounded off her garden fence and smashed the window. Neighbours have subsequently confirmed this. The RUC were informed on the Monday morning. They came to make a report 48 hours later and told the resident that her window couldn't have been broken by a plastic bullet. They didn't interview any neighbours. Two weeks after the event the window has still not been repaired.
Many of those who were injured at night are reluctant to come forward. One man who was hit in the stomach suffered vomiting but
"refused to go in an ambulance cause I was afraid that the RUC would arrest and charge me."
The sheer numbers of plastic bullets fired gives rise to the gravest concern at decisions being made over that weekend in the RUC divisional headquarters on Strand Road. More plastic bullets were fired that weekend in Derry than at any comparable time period in the past five years. They were used a full one and half hours before the introduction of petrol bombs. (At 5.25 pm according to the Sentinel). Senior RUC officers sanctioned the intensive use of this lethal weapon over a weekend which, according to all local press reports, saw only two RUC officers receive minor injuries and that in a confrontation with Loyalists on Spencer Road. Tensions were already high on the Saturday when news filtered through that a man had been seriously injured by a plastic bullet on the Ormeau Road that morning.
The public have a right to ask the following questions of the RUC:
- Are the security forces no longer bound by the minimal admissible range of 20 metres regarding the use of plastic bullets?
- Given the regulations regarding the use of these weapons were officers lives put at risk on one hundred occasions on that weekend?
- Did senior officers contemplate the consequences for the entire peace process had life been lost due to the use of plastic bullets?
Conclusions and Recommendations
1. The actions of the RUC were the primary cause of the break-down in community relations and the resulting disorder in Derry on the 12 and 13 August, 1995 due to:
a) The decision to allow the parade onto the controversial section of the walls.
b) The timing of the decision. This blocked any possible process of negotiation and compromise between the parties involved.
c) The implementation of that decision. RUC officers used an unacceptable level of physical force to remove nonviolent demonstrators from the city walls. As a result at least three people suffered broken bones and many more suffered bruising and temporary loss of hearing and voice due to the use of pressure points by the RUC.
d) Failure to act when loyalists gathered on the walls following the initial parade. For over two hours after the parade on the walls sectarian abuse was shouted and bottles were thrown from that section of the walls overlooking the Bogside.
e) Their refusal to deal with provocative and at times violent bandsmen in the Diamond.
f) Baton charging and assaulting onlookers, including foreign tourists and workers in local shops down Butcher and Shipquay Streets, an action which directly precipitated rioting.
2. RUC officers fired 100 plastic bullets in Derry on the 12 and 13 August. There is evidence that plastic bullets were fired under minimum range and at head height.
3. RUC officers time and again used sectarian and sexist abuse against demonstrators, and residents of this city.
1. The Apprentice Boys should not be allowed to parade on the west wall unless with the agreement of the residents of the Bogside and adjoining areas.
2. The Apprentice Boys should only be allowed to parade in the City centre following satisfactory agreement concerning the stewarding of the parade and the behaviour of the Apprentice Boys. This agreement should be brokered by party leaders on Derry City Council and should involve the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the Chamber of Trade and the Bogside Residents' Group.
3. Political parties, the media and all other organisations involved in the civic life of this city should commit themselves urgently to facilitating good community relations where the different traditions are respected on the basis of tolerance and equality
4. Plastic bullets should be banned immediately. The continued use of this lethal weapon is in breach of the ceasefires.
5. As a matter of urgency the crisis in policing must be resolved. No single incident in the past year has demonstrated that urgency clearer than the avoidable events of 12 August 1995.
28 August 1995
© the Pat Finucane CentreBack to top