SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said he will nominate the families of Bloody Sunday victims for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Eastwood said it would be a fitting tribute for the families' "long fight for truth and justice".

Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of the killings by the British Army in Derry on 30 January 1972.

Thirteen people were shot dead when soldiers of the Parachute Regiment opened fire following a civil rights march in the city.

Fifteen others were injured.

A 14th person died months later. His death has been attributed to his injuries.

An immediate inquiry, led by then-lord chief justice Lord Widgery, was labelled a whitewash after it largely cleared the soldiers of blame.

After years of campaigning by victims' families, then-prime minister Tony Blair ordered a new inquiry in 1998.

The Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 that none of the casualties were posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting and then-prime minister David Cameron apologised in the House of Commons, saying that the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Mr Eastwood said he could think of no better tribute to the relatives of those who had suffered that day.

He said they had gained respect and admiration from around the world for the stance they had taken.

"They have faced down the might of the British establishment who tried to cover up the events of that dreadful day, blackening their loved one's names in the process.

"But they never stopped fighting for what was right and remain an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere," he said.

Every year a programme of events is run to mark the anniversary of the killings.

Members of national assemblies are among those entitled to make a nomination.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is the end of January every year.

A shortlist is produced in March normally containing 20-30 candidates and assessment begins.

The winner is announced in October, with the prize awarded in December.

Were it would be awarded to the Bloody Sunday families, it would be the second time that the Nobel Peace Prize has come to Derry.

In 1998 Derry native and SDLP leader John Hume was awarded the prize along with UUP leader David Trimble for their work in delivering the Good Friday Agreement.

Additional reporting PA