Bikers ride to Stormont in support of Soldier F

Bikers ride to Stormont in support of Soldier F

A group of bikers rode to Stormont in a show of support for a soldier who is being prosecuted over Bloody Sunday.

It took place in Belfast as a similar Rolling Thunder demonstration took place in London.

Around 80 riders, many of them military veterans, set off from the Cultra, Co Down, and arrived at Stormont, the seat of devolved government in Belfast, at around 1.30pm.

There was the sound of horns blasting and engines revving as the bikers rode up the mile-long Prince of Wales Avenue.

Parachute Regiment flags flew from a number of the bikes taking part.

Soldier F is to be charged with murdering two people after troops opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972.

Motorcyclists also took part in a Rolling Thunder ride protest in London (PA)
Motorcyclists also took part in a Rolling Thunder ride protest in London (PA)

Veterans have reacted angrily to the decision to take legal action decades after the bloodshed.

The organisers of the Rolling Thunder event said their action is directed against the British government rather than the victims’ families.

Some relatives of the 13 killed have long campaigned for justice. They were shot dead on January 30 1972 on one of the most notorious days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Soldier F will face charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell, Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service has said.

A motorcyclists takes part in the Rolling Thunder ride protest in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)
A motorcyclists takes part in the Rolling Thunder ride protest in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

A public inquiry conducted by a senior judge shortly after the deaths was branded a whitewash by victims’ families and a campaign was launched for a new public inquiry.

Relatives sought to right the wrongs of false claims that their loved ones had been armed. A fresh probe was eventually ordered by then prime minister Tony Blair in 1998.

A decade-long investigation by Lord Saville concluded that the troops killed protesters who posed no threat.

- Press Association

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