Freedom blow for jailed soldiers

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The Independent Online
A CAMPAIGN for the early release of two Scots Guards serving life sentences for the murder of a civilian in Belfast suffered a setback yesterday after a council banned a march.

More than 100 veterans from the regiment planned to stage the demonstration in Glasgow city centre in support of Mark Wright, from Arbroath and Jim Fisher from Ayr, who were jailed in 1992 for the murder of Peter McBride. Mr McBride was shot and killed when he ran away from the soldiers after they stopped him for questioning.

Bill Ritchie, 63, a former Scots Guard, who was hoping to organise the event for 25 April, criticised Glasgow City Council for blocking the rally. He said: "We are very disappointed ... We saw this as a peaceful demonstration, but the council said it did not want to get involved in Northern Ireland issues, and it is them not us who have turned this into a political demonstration."

A council spokesman said the decision not to grant permission had been taken on police advice. He said there was "blanket ban" on Northern Ireland demonstrations in the city centre, but organisers had been offered an alternative venue.