The police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 66-year-old ex British soldier in connection with Bloody Sunday that happened on January 30, 1972 in what was then called Londonderry. The infamous massacre of unarmed civilian marchers by British soldiers was a lighting rod in the troubles.
The former soldier, whose name was not released, was arrested in County Antrim and taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning. It has been reported that the ex-soldier was a former lance corporal and was identified by the pseudonymous initial “J.” He is believed to have been involved in three of the 13 killings that day. A 14th victim died months later. “J” was a member of the Parachute Regiment, the Army unit most hated by Catholic nationalists during the Troubles. Five months before Bloody Sunday, members of the regiment fatally shot 11 unarmed civilians in Belfast. In a direct retaliation, the Irish Republican Army blew up the regiment’s base in Aldershot, England, in 1974, killing seven people.
“What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional I.R.A., increased nationalist resentment and hostility toward the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed,” the Saville inquiry found. “Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland.”In response, Prime Minister David Cameron apologized for the massacre, calling it “unjustified and unjustifiable.” The next year, the government agreed to a plan to compensate families of the victims.