Loyalist protest over Glasgow marches ban

marchers in Glasgow

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PA Media

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About 1,000 people were involved in the marches and the counter protests last weekend

Loyalist groups are to protest outside Glasgow City Chambers after a decision to ban all this weekend’s marches over fears of sectarian disorder.

Four Loyalist marches and an Irish Republican parade were banned by the council after a meeting on Wednesday.

It followed violent sectarian clashes on the two previous weekends.

The protest was arranged by a group called Scottish Protestants against Discrimination (Spad) but is being backed by the Orange Order.

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said he would be “standing side by side” with Spad in protest at the council’s decision.

The council prohibited the marches after disturbances on the previous two weekends.

It is understood that the council buildings will be closed to staff apart from a few exceptions.

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There were counter-demonstrations at an Irish republican march last week

On Saturday 7 September, a police officer was injured as two Irish Republican marches and Loyalist counter-demonstrations were held in Glasgow.

The counter-demonstrations at both marches were quickly contained by police, who had deployed officers in riot gear and mounted police.

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A march in Govan two weeks ago led to violent disorder

The heavy police presence came a week after a full-scale riot developed in Govan when Loyalists tried to disrupt another Irish Republican parade.

Police told Glasgow City Council that its intelligence pointed to a “strong likelihood” of disorder at marches in the city this weekend.

Supt John McBride said there had been calls on social media from Republicans to target Loyalist events and demands from Loyalists to protest against Republican parades.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said the violence and destruction on the city streets over the past two weekends had been “simply unacceptable”.

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Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said the violence and destruction was “simply unacceptable”.

“We can’t have repeats of that nor can we repeat the very heavy police presence that was on the streets last Saturday,” she said.

“It is not sustainable or desirable to constantly have 400-plus officers in full public order gear on the city streets every weekend.”

Ms Aitken said there needed to be a moratorium on marches to provide some “breathing space” and an opportunity to work out what to do next.

“Whatever we thought we knew about parades, that’s not what is happening any more,” she said.

The SNP politician called on the leaders of the organisations involved to “step up and give some confidence and guarantees” that there would not be a repeat of the violence of recent weeks.

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Grand Master Jim McHarg said the trouble was not caused by Orange Lodge members

The Church of Scotland it recognised that the decision made by Glasgow City Council was not based on religious discrimination nor a desire to oppress the protestant faith.

However, Mr McHarg, from the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, accused Glasgow City councillors of “illegal measures that curtail a citizen’s right of peaceful assembly”.

He said: “Our parades are the way we exercise our right of assembly, and our membership takes part in our parades with great respect and decorum.”

Mr McHarg said the Orange Order played no part in any of the previous incidents and blamed the “chaotic scenes” on “a hard-core element from both sides of the argument”.

“We will not stand idly by whilst our democratic right of free assembly is curtailed by politically motivated anti-unionist nationalists,” he said.

Planned Loyalist and Republican marches

Saturday 14

Pride of the North Flute Band – 60 expected participants – prohibited

Bridgeton Protestant Boys Flute Band – 300 participants – prohibited

Republican Network for Unity – 150 participants – prohibited

Whiteinch Orange and Purple District 7 – 120 participants – prohibited

Sunday 15

Partick Orange and Purple District 15 – 60 participants – prohibited

Saturday 21

Independent Loyal Orange Order – starts 10:00 – 50 participants expected

Pride of Govan Flute Band – starts 10:00 – 800 participants

Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57 – starts 11:00 – 120 participants

Springburn Campsie Apprentice Boys of Derry – starts 12:00 – 60 participants

West of Scotland Band Alliance – starts 12.30 – 200 participants

Friday 27

Govan Somme Association – starts 18:15 – 100 participants

Saturday 5 October

Orange and Purple District No12 LLOL1 – starts 15:00 – 110 participants

Saturday 12 October

Bridgeton No Surrender Flute Band – starts 13:00 – 350 participants

Royal Black Preceptory 672 – starts 10.25 – 50 participants

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