POLICE Scotland today vowed to take “robust and proportionate action” to deal with any trouble as anti-fascists and members of the far-right Scottish Defence League stage rival rallies in Dundee tomorrow.
Members of the Defence League are due to stage a “static demonstration” outside the Overgate in Dundee’s city centre tomorrow while the anti-fascist alliance United Against Fascism holds a march and rally through the centre of the city.
The SDL staged a similar demonstration in Dundee city centre a year ago when there was a noisy stand-off with protestors from Dundee Together but no arrests.
Extra officers are being drafted in to prevent potential clashes between the rival groups in the city centre this weekend.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said today that the force had already called on both sides in tomorrow’s demonstrations “to assist in making sure these too are trouble free.”
Superintendent Jim Leslie said: “Police Scotland has had open dialogue with the event organisers in the lead up to Saturday to leave them in no doubts that our priorities are keeping people safe. We have undertaken a significant amount of work in preparation for these events, and there will be significant Police Scotland resources deployed on the day, so that we these events can be facilitated.”
He continued: “We recognise that an individual’s rights of assembly, association and expression must be upheld, but we have also made both the Scottish Defence League and United Against Fascism aware of their responsibilities and what we expect of them. Both have engaged with Police Scotland during our planning process and, through continued dialogue, they know what they must do in respect of managing their events properly and providing appropriate stewarding.”
Supt Leslie continued: “We fully expect them to conduct themselves in a proper manner and we demand that they respect the rights of other people who will be in the city centre of Dundee on Saturday.”
And he warned: “Rest assured, we will not tolerate any criminality and we will take robust and proportionate action to deal with any incidents or issues.
“A detailed policing plan is in place to keep disruption to the city centre community to a minimum.
“Our officers have also kept city centre businesses and communities informed of the events. They have been advised that while we have no reason to believe there will be any cause for concern, we will take appropriate action to deal with any criminal activity that does occur.
“We will have a range of resources available on the day to facilitate these two events and to minimise any disruption to the city centre and its users.”
Supt Leslie added: “Anyone who has any concerns, before during or after the events can contact Police Scotland on 101, or speak to any officer.”