Veterans’ silent Friday protest

Veterans staged a silent protest against what they feel is unfair prosecution of ex-soldiers from their time in Northern Ireland. EMN-190419-135248001
Veterans staged a silent protest against what they feel is unfair prosecution of ex-soldiers from their time in Northern Ireland. EMN-190419-135248001

Around 80 to 90 armed forces veterans from the Sleaford area, as well as Boston, Grantham, Bourne and Lincoln, held a silent protest in the town’s Market Place on Good Friday in support of ‘Soldier F’, who is set to be prosecuted as an outcome of the Bloody Sunday inquiry and police investigations.

The Sleaford Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club meets regularly in the town. Member Eugene ‘Andy’ Anderson said he and colleagues object to the persecution of British Army veterans being used as ‘scapegoats’ by the Government and the potential prosecution of Soldier F after Paratroopers were accused of opening fire on a civil rights rally in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972, killing 14 people and injuring 14 others.

On the same day around 15,000 veterans descended on Horse Guards Parade in London to protest against the decision to prosecute their comrades. With some unable to travel, the Breakfast Club decided to show its support locally.

A veteran of three tours in Northern Ireland with the Royal Engineers, Mr Anderson said they did not object to soldiers being fairly prosecuted for wrongdoings, but feared it would be hard to get a fair trial for Soldier F, while seven others are also due to be prosecuted.

He said: “If you are going to prosecute, then lift the amnesty and pardon and prosecute the terrorists as well for committing atrocities of torture and murder.”