Protest against prosecution of UK war veterans set for Leeds city centre

Martyn Simpson, who served in the RAF, is one of the organisers of the UK Veterans - One Voice group's upcoming march.

Martyn Simpson, who served in the RAF, is one of the organisers of the UK Veterans - One Voice group's upcoming march.

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Hundreds of former servicemen and women are expected to march through Leeds this month in protest at the prosecution of ex-soldiers who served in war zones.

Martyn Simpson, who served in the RAF for seven years from 1978, is calling on more people to get involved with the march from City Square on February 20 at 11am.

The event is one of six marches organised by the UK Veterans - One Voice group nationwide in opposition to the treatment of soldiers being taken to task over their conduct on the battlefield years later.

The campaign stems from the arrest of a former Lance Corporal who was detained last year by detectives investigating the deaths of 14 men during the infamous Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972.

The arrest of the ex-soldier, who is now 66, on suspicion of murder was condemned by some MPs and military commanders after the release of former terrorists under the Good Friday Agreement but some families who lost loved ones during the Troubles welcomed the move.

Mr Simpson, from Richmond Hill, said: “It’s not a case of a ‘never death’ it’s those soldiers carrying out orders to open fire and do whatever you have to do.”

He said news that the Government’s Iraq Historical Allegations Team is investigating 280 former British soldiers over alleged war crimes sparks similar fears. Adding that the group sees such a pursuit of ex-servicemen and women as “unjust”, he said: “We didn’t save our country to become an easy target for the Government.”

The Leeds protest will see demonstrators march from City Square and along city streets such as Boar Lane and Briggate before returning to City Square. After the march protesters will host a two minute silence and hand out campaign leaflets.

Visit ukveterans-onevoice.uk for further information.