British and unionist politicians fumed at the existence of Free Derry. But internment had stiffened the community’s resolve. An anti-internment march was planned for 30 January 1972.
Fifteen thousand people gathered in Creggan on a bright, crisp winter’s day. There were rumours that paratroopers were amongst the heavy British Army presence in town, but the mood was cheerful. A peaceful day (by Derry standards), was expected.
The march began shortly after 3pm. A little over an hour later, 13 men and boys lay dead - innocent and unarmed marchers shot down by members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment; a 14th man died later from his wounds. Seventeen others, including two women, were injured. Some were shot in the back as they tried to flee. One victim was shot a second time and killed as he lay injured, others were shot as they tried to help the injured and dying.