LONDONR Police have arrested a man in Northern Ireland in connection with the infamous bombing of two bars in the English Midlands nearly half a century ago, they said on Wednesday, an attack whose memory has stood as an emblem of deferred justice and loss. stable.
The bombs exploded within minutes of each other at Mulberry Bush and the City Tavern, both in Birmingham, on November 21, 1974, killing 21 people. The identity of the bombers has remained one of the most confusing enigmas of an era, the bloodshed of which still plagues survivors.
The bombs marked decades known as The Troubles when police and the military tried to quell an uprising in Northern Ireland that spilled over into the UK with bloody bombs. Thousands died in the conflict that engulfed authorities and paramilitary groups fighting for and against Irish unity.
Following the Birmingham attacks, police charged six men with carrying out the bombings, in which about 200 people were injured. The men, who became known as the Birmingham Six, were jailed in 1975 but released in 1991 when their beliefs were overturned. In 1994 police said there was insufficient evidence for further arrests.
In a statement Wednesday, West Midlands police said a 65-year-old man had been arrested under counterterrorism laws at his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland and that his home was being searched. The man was not identified by name.
As the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, mediated by the United States, established a political solution to help end the Trouble, memories of the violence continued and activists continued to push for explanations.
Such was the pressure from a group in Birmingham that authorities reopened an investigation in 2016 into the Birmingham bombings. Justice Group 21 is still pushing for a wider public inquiry.
Last year investigations revealed that 21 victims had been illegally killed by the Irish Provisional Republican Army, or IRA, the most powerful of the groups seeking a united Ireland, but did not identify the suspects by name. At the time of the bombing, the IRA did not take responsibility.
Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the bombings, called Wednesday’s arrest the most monumental event since the release of the Birmingham Six. His welcome news. Its overwhelming news. His tangible progress, she told the BBC.
But, like other campaigns calling for a broader investigation, she said the arrest does not in any way diminish our desire for a full public investigation.
There are broader issues that need to be addressed and so many went wrong, such as why six men were arrested for a crime they did not commit, she said.
Paul Rowlands, whose father John Rowlands died in one of the blasts, called the arrest a positive step, but said it does not diminish the fact that we need a public inquiry.
The memory of those killed in 1974 is summarized in a photo montage which has served to illustrate the capriciousness of murder. Victims include electricians and postal workers, a market janitor, several department store workers and factory and office staff, among others.
Such memories cement The Troubles deeply in the British political landscape. The release of Birmingham Six Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power is often referred to by activists as one of the most hit justice abortions related to The Troubles.
Mr Hill, one of the Birmingham Six, told the BBC in 2010: One thing about the British public when they see an injustice they are not afraid to stand up and shout about it and thank God. We went to jail just to please and quell the public protest and in the end it was the public protest that got us out again.
In recent months, as Britain moves towards its final farewell to the European Union, Northern Ireland’s assets have become entangled in relations between London and Washington.
The British government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has drafted legislation that critics say will rebuild destroyed border restrictions under the Good Friday Agreement. But in Washington, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has warned Mr. Johnson that the Good Friday Agreement should not be compromised.
We cannot allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a victim of Brexit, Mr Biden wrote on Twitter in September. Any trade agreement between the US and the UK should depend on compliance with the Agreement and prevent the return of a strong border. Period
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