Relatives are still searching for justice for the 14 civil rights marchers, who were killed by British soldiers on one of the defining days of the Northern Ireland conflict.

Families of the victims say no one has been held responsible for the massacre.
Families of the victims say no one has been held responsible for the massacre. (AA)

The painful memory of a massacre that shook not only the UK but most of the world when it occurred in Northern Ireland has remained alive despite the passage of 50 years.

The infamous killings of 14 civil rights marchers by Britain’s elite parachute regiment on January 30, 1972, is known as Bloody Sunday.

Family and friends of the victims gathered this week for a series of commemorations to mark the event that helped fuel three decades of bitter sectarian and political violence.

A witness to what had happened is Jim Duddy, brother of one of the youngest victims, John Duddy who was 17 years old when paratroopers shot him dead in the car park of Rossville Flats.

He said none of the shooters were ever brought to justice and justice did not prevail on Bloody Sunday.

He said the families of the victims will keep trying to achieve justice.

“I'm standing here now talking to you, on the 50th anniversary. If I or other family members didn't believe that we could achieve it, we wouldn't be doing it. We have to try. We became their voices. They can't speak for themselves.”

READ MORE: UK may activate suspension article with Northern Ireland trade protocol

Innocent victims

The massacre took place in the northwestern city of Londonderry - known as Derry by its majority Irish nationalist population.

Anger about Bloody Sunday spread across the world as it was recorded by television crews and generated a wave of new recruits for a resurgent Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The killings accelerated Northern Ireland’s descent into conflict with the British government and pro-British paramilitaries on one side and Irish Republicans and nationalists on the other.

The UK government initially claimed the soldiers were responding to gunfire from nearby buildings - a finding that was supported by an early investigation called the Widgery Report.

But after years of pressure from victims’ families, the 12-year Bloody Sunday Inquiry, also known as the Saville Inquiry, later found that the victims had not posed a threat to soldiers.

In June 2010, then-Prime Minister David Cameron issued an official apology for the killings on behalf of his government, confirming that those killed were innocent victims.

READ MORE: EU offers several proposals to resolve Northern Ireland Brexit row

Source: TRTWorld and agencies