Thousands take part in final Bloody Sunday march

Thousands of people have taken part in what is expected to be the last march to commemorate the events of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry.

It was the first mass demonstration since the Saville report last year exonerated the 14 people killed by British paratroopers who opened fire on a civil rights march in 1972.

After the actions of the soldiers were found to be "unjustified and unjustifiable", sparking an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron, the crowds that gathered in Derry marched behind a banner bearing the word "vindicated".

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Despite calls from some bereaved relatives for the annual march to be continued, most are said to have backed proposals to put the event to an end, with alternative commemorations to be chosen instead.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, said the findings of the public inquiry had changed everything for most of the bereaved and for the people of the city.

"This time last year we were waiting for Saville," he said. "We got Saville on June 15 and certainly there is a major change in the atmosphere of the people here."

The day began with a wreath-laying ceremony, where speakers included Presbyterian clergyman the Rev David Latimer, who expressed hopes that healing the pain of Bloody Sunday could help unite the divided Protestant and Catholic communities.

He said: "There was a cloud that was hanging over this city and preventing us, I think, from moving out of our comfort zones of separation and poor relations.

"That cloud has been lifted with the results of Lord Saville's report."

A relatively small number of people, including some bereaved relatives, broke off from the main parade as part of their call for the annual demonstration to continue.

The main body of the march, however, was able for the first time to complete the route started in 1972 and reached Guildhall square in the city centre.

The audience gathered in the location where the Saville report was unveiled last year.

They heard from speakers including Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan, MP for Foyle.