Hundreds of bikers rode through central London on Friday in solidarity with a former British soldier accused of two murders in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings.
The ex-paratrooper, identified only as Soldier F, was charged earlier this year over one of the darkest chapters in the Northern Ireland conflict.
The protesters, many of them veterans, wore leather jackets decorated with military insignia and waved flags — some of them from their former regiments.
“They’ve given amnesty to the terrorists. What about Soldier F? Why are they locking him up? It’s so wrong,” Terry Coffey, a former soldier, said at the protest.
Fellow ex-soldier Mark Hastings pointed at parliament and said that under the current government “anybody who went to Northern Ireland could be accused of murder”.
British troops opened fire on a civil rights demonstration in Derry, Northern Ireland’s second city, killing 13 people on January 30, 1972.
A 14th victim later died of his wounds.
A photograph of a Catholic priest waving a bloodstained handkerchief as he tried to help 17-year-old victim Jackie Duddy to safety became a defining image of the incident.
Soldier F was one of 17 British veterans who had faced investigation, plus two alleged Irish Republican Army (IRA) paramilitaries, but he was the only one charged.
Following the findings of a long-running public inquiry in 2010, Britain‘s then-prime minister David Cameron issued a formal state apology for the killings, calling them “unjustified and unjustifiable”.