A DUP MP has highlighted the need to learn from the “massive movement of the Protestant population from the west bank of Londonderry around the time of the ‘Civil Rights’ era 50 years ago.”
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell was speaking at a special screening of a BBC documentary entitled ‘The River Crossing’ in Londonderry on Thursday evening.
“Tonight’s film showing comes at a time when there are numerous events, talks and marches to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the ‘Civil Rights’ demonstrations,” he said.
“These events don’t acknowledge one of the most startling and dramatic series of changes to come about in modern day Northern Ireland.”
Mr Campbell continued: “Nationalists and republicans have made numerous claims about that period.
“The one thing they have studiously ignored was the population movement from the West Bank, which in 1968 had a Protestant population in excess of 10,000.
“In the short time that followed after the 1968 disturbances thousands had moved out, many due to intimidation, terror and harassment.”
He added: “Whether in silence or in denial the facts cannot be disputed. Our communities together must learn from this awful past, it was pleasing that a younger generation were present to hear at first hand the vivid accounts of the times of terror. As we build for a better future, we cannot and will not allow some to try and re - write the past.”