Glasgow Orange Walk: Council 'received no recommendation to reroute' procession passing Catholic churches

Glasgow City Council says it received ‘no recommendation to reroute processions this weekend’ despite calls from campaigners against anti-Catholic and anti-Irish discrimination to avoid Catholic churches.

Members of the Orange Order and their supporters march through the city on September 18, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Around 13,000 marchers are expected to take part in more than 50 parades through the city centre heading to Glasgow Green to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Battle of the Boyne parade in Glasgow. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The council said that despite working closely with police both before and after processions, they received no advice to reroute the Orange Walk processions in Glasgow this week.

It comes as an Orange Order passed St Benedict’s Catholic church in Easterhouse on Saturday morning despite calls from the group Call It Out for the police and council to make minor detours to the processions’ routes to avoid passing Catholic Churches.

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Up to 13,000 people are expected to converge in the city centre on Saturday to ‘commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first Battle of Boyne parade’ since the pandemic began.

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Glasgow Orange Walk: Orange Order parade past Catholic church met by Call It Out...

A Call It Out spokesperson said: “CIO and other citizens requested that three anti-Catholic marches make minor detours to avoid passing Catholic Churches. This was a fair, proportionate, and human rights-based request that would have balanced the rights of all including anti-Catholic organisations.

“Once again however Glasgow City Council and the Police Service of Scotland have ignored these calls and failed in their statutory obligation to consider or give equal weight to the human rights of Catholics and ultimately protect Catholics and Catholic places of worship.”

Addressing the calls for rerouting, a Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We work closely with police both before and after processions.

“We received no recommendation to reroute processions this weekend, either as part of the statutory consultation process or as part of the debrief from a corresponding event in 2019.”

A police spokesperson said: "Police Scotland does not permit (or prohibit), amend the route or timings of any procession, protest or demonstration.

“Where appropriate, Police Scotland will submit information in order for the local authority to make an informed decision.

"Representations can also be made to the local authority by members of the public or community groups.".

Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, Divisional Commander of Police Scotland's Greater Glasgow Police Division said: "We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.

“We would urge the large majority who behave in the right way and know there is no place for poor behaviours or hate, to influence those around you to ensure the day is remembered for the right reasons, and passes peacefully

"Our large policing operation will be focused on public safety and doing all we can with partners to reduce disruption to the wider community. We will however not tolerate offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder and such behaviours will be dealt with swiftly and proportionately.

"Where this is not possible during the event, we will launch follow-up investigations as necessary.

"We are aware that there may be those who wish to protest on the day against particular locations the processions will pass.

"We continue to work with these groups to ensure their rights are protected and would again urge everyone to show tolerance, and respect the rights of others."​

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