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PROTESTS erupted in more than 40 locations across Ireland on Saturday against Westminster government plans to introduce an effective amnesty for British soldiers.
Campaigners told the British government they would not accept plans to bury the truth about its alleged war crimes following Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis’s announcement of a statute of limitations for Troubles-related crimes in July.
It would apply to all incidents up to April 1998, when the Good Friday peace agreement was signed, and apply to both British military veterans and former paramilitaries.
The plans would end all legacy inquests and civil actions relating to the so-called Troubles era, leaving many families and survivors without justice for their loved ones.
Saturday’s protests were called by the Time for Truth campaign and supported by a number of victims and survivors’ groups including the Ballymurphy Massacre, the Springhill/Westrock Massacre and the McGurk’s Bar Campaign for Truth.
Time for Truth spokesman Ciaran MacAirt said: “We know the British government does not care about our families,” he said. “It is only interested in burying its war crimes and protecting its killers and human rights abusers.”
He told those gathered in Belfast: “Before we buried our loved ones, the British state buried the truth.”
But, he said: “We will fight them legally, academically, politically and morally. Our message to Brandon Lewis and the perfidious British government is clear. All families have a basic right to truth and justice.”
Sinn Fein councillor and activist Emma McGinley said: “There can be no amnesty for British state forces. The British state must be held accountable for their actions in Ireland.”
Journalist and longtime campaigner for justice Anne Cadwallader said: “Like a cornered rat, London is trying to deny us the truth and justice we deserve.”
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