Scots indyref march organiser who refused to change Glasgow event start time and snubbed council's alternative route is jailed

A Scots indyref march organiser who defied Glasgow City Council safety concerns and refused to change the start time of the event was today jailed for 72 days.

Mandeep Singh, 41, of All Under One Banner, also failed to apply to have streets closed during the event. This had to be organised by Police Scotland.

He was told on several occasions that starting the march from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green last May at 1.30pm would cause congestion in the city centre.

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Council officials ordered the event to start at 11am, but Singh started the rally at 1.30pm to accommodate marchers travelling from all over Scotland.

Thousands of demonstrators carry Saltire flags, the national flag of Scotland, as they march in support of Scottish independence through the streets of Glasgow. Pic: Getty

The day after the march he was charged.

Singh pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to holding a procession not in accordance with the council-imposed conditions.

Sheriff Paul Brown ordered Singh, of the city’s Charing Cross, to be placed on a 72-day curfew from 6pm to 6am.

But, Singh refused to comply with this and was sent to prison.

Disagreement over route

The court heard that on the lead up to the march there was a meeting on March 5, last year, with council officials, police and the fire brigade.

Singh estimated that between 20,000 and 100,000 people would attend the event.

Council officials told Singh his route and start time of 1.30pm would cause congestion in the city centre and recommended an 11am start time.

Prosecutor John Bedford said: “Singh refused the recommendation put forward and stated he would perhaps bring it to 1pm.

“He wasn’t prepared to accept the significant time change.”

Singh was told to submit a temporary order to close the roads the group wished to march.

Mr Bedford said: “Singh never paid for the order and it wasn’t put in place.”

Taxi driver Singh also disagreed with the route favoured by the council which would take the march south from Kelvingrove Park to Kelvin Way, Sauchiehall Street, Pitt Street, West George Street, George Square, High Street and Glasgow Green.

The council said the changes were due to concerns over “public safety.”

Singh attended a police office the day before the march and was reminded about the measures in place.

Singh told the police that he was going to go ahead with his original route and time.

Police organised road closures in accordance with this.

It is estimated 30-40,000 people attended the march which went north through Gibson Street and Woodlands Road before taking the council's route from Sauchiehall Street.

Lawyer, Bob McCormack, defending, told the court that having the march earlier than 1.30 was “not possible” due to the attendees from further afield.

He said: “Singh discussed the route and police manned that route.

“There was no deviation from the route that the police had taken which was followed to the letter.

“This wasn’t the route in writing but it was the route agreed by him and the police.

“They were in attendance at every part of the route.”

Mr McCormack added that Singh could lose his job as a taxi driver as a result of the conviction.