PROTESTS were held in the UK today against the prosecution of British soldiers involved in the Troubles.
Up to 200 former British service personnel face prosecution for alleged unlawful killings between August 1969 and July 2007, the period known as the ‘Troubles’.
Operation Banner in Northern Ireland was the longest continuous deployment of Armed Forces personnel in British military history and involved over 250,000 military personnel.
To date, six former military personnel have been charged with offences relating to the Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday. The most recent prosecution case was announced in April 2019.
The use of cyphers, to identify many of the Veterans without revealing their names, has led to them being referred to as “Soldier A-Z”.
I’m 2019 thousands took to the streets in support of ‘Soldier F’, a Parachute Regiment veteran who faces charges of murder over the killing of two people on Bloody Sunday.
Dennis Hutchings, a 78 year old former member of the Life Guards regiment, has been charged in relation to the 1974 fatal shooting of John Pat Cunningham in County Tyrone.
Protesters across the UK mainland and Northern Ireland are protesting outside court houses and army recruitment offices against the trials which are scheduled to commence in a matter of weeks.
Various ‘Veteran and Loyal Supporters Groupings’, with tens of thousands of members U.K. wide have organised a number of protests in regional cities including London, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
The group ‘BritishVeteran.Org’ are also coordinating smaller ‘Solidarity Pickets’ in support of larger demonstrations taking place in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
A spokesperson for the group has confirmed: ‘There are very large protests due to take place over the coming months.
If, despite the PM’s assurances, there is no, or slow progress towards ending the prosecutions, protests will escalate in both scale and frequency until this abhorrent treatment of British veterans is stopped once and for all.’
Boris Johnson made an election pledge to amend the Human Rights Act in an effort to stop military veterans being prosecuted over killings that took place during The Troubles.
A number of Tory MPs have voiced concerns that Stormont’s new power-sharing deal will see plans for a new body to investigate Troubles murders revived.
But the PM said he would keep his manifesto promise to end “vexatious” prosecutions of former servicemen.