Bloody Sunday - what happened?

On Tuesday the Saville Inquiry published its long-awaited report on Bloody Sunday when 13 people on a civil rights march were shot dead by paratroops in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Click through this guide to find out how the day unfolded.

Photo of Bloody Sunday march
On 30 January 1972, 13 people were killed when soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry. The day became known as Bloody Sunday.
map of march route - Londonderry
About 10,000 people gather in Creggan area to march to the Guildhall for a rally organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association to protest at internment without trial. The Stormont government had banned such protests.
map of march route - Bogside
Army barricades block marchers from the centre. They turn into Rossville Street. In William Street some throw stones at soldiers who respond with rubber bullets, CS gas and a water cannon. Two men are shot and wounded.
map of march route - Bogside
A unit of the 1st Batallion Parachute Regiment advances down William St and Rossville St with orders to arrest as many marchers as possible. At 16.10 the shooting begins.
map of Bogside marking dead and wounded
After 25 minutes of shooting, 13 marchers have been killed and 13 wounded, one of whom later dies. The soldiers claimed they were fired upon first, but the marchers said the Army shot indiscriminately at unarmed civilians.
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Sources: Cain - key events of Bloody Sunday

Find out in detail what happened on the day in the Saville Report

What happened next

The events of Bloody Sunday caused shock and revulsion across the world. In Dublin, a crowd of protesters burnt the British Embassy.

In Northern Ireland, it marked the effective end of the non-violent campaign for civil rights.

Some young people who had previously regarded themselves as non-political joined the IRA.

Two months after Bloody Sunday, the Stormont parliament which had ruled Northern Ireland since its creation in the 1920s was suspended and direct rule from London was imposed.

In April, the Widgery Inquiry concluded that the Paratroopers' firing had "bordered on the reckless".

It also concluded the soldiers had been fired upon first and some of the victims had handled weapons, despite evidence from witnesses who said the victims were unarmed civilians.

The Catholic community rejected these findings as a "whitewash" and began a long campaign for another inquiry.

In 1998 a fresh inquiry, headed by Lord Saville, was announced.

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