Four loyalist marches to go ahead in Glasgow on Saturday

Protesters in Glasgow last week. Picture: John Devlin
Protesters in Glasgow last week. Picture: John Devlin
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Four marches by loyalist groups set to take place in Glasgow this weekend have been given the go-ahead by council bosses, it has been confirmed.

A Police Scotland statement confirmed that four public processions in Glasgow would go ahead this weekend despite a decision from the City Council that temporarily banned republican and loyalist marches earlier this month.

That decision led to an impromptu gathering of loyalist and unionist groups in George Square, with over a thousand protesting at the decision.

The ban came after marches and counter demonstrations by republican and loyalist activists respectively sparked disorder.

READ MORE: Loyalists gather in Glasgow's George Square to protest marches ban

Hundreds of police responded to "significant disorder" at a march in Govan on August 30 which was met by counter-protesters.

The next weekend, 11 people were arrested as two Republican marches held in Glasgow were again met with opposition, with a police officer injured by a pyrotechnic.

Processions this weekend are planned by the Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57, the Independent Loyal Orange Order, the Springburn Campsie Apprentice Boys of Derry, and the Pride of Govan flute band.

The combined estimated number of participants listed on the Glasgow City Council website is well over a thousand.

Police Scotland's Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Our view is that if the processions were banned, some form of protest and disorder could still take place and the policing profile for Saturday would therefore be similar.

“If the processions go ahead it would allow us to continue to engage with known organisers to ensure balanced rights were upheld and to police the events under the conditions agreed by the council.

“I need to appeal to people who plan on taking part in processions or counter protests to do so peacefully.

“We will have a range of policing resources, including a range of specialist assets, in attendance and will take any necessary action against anyone causing disruption.

“The decision to amend the route or the timing, or to prohibit any procession is a matter for the relevant local authority.

“Police Scotland is required to assist councils to make informed decisions by making appropriate representations on notifications which could potentially significantly risk public safety, disorder, damage to property or disruption to the life of the community.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "The council has been placed in an impossible position in relation to the parade in Govan.

"Police Scotland has said that should the procession not go ahead, many of the 800 people due to take part will react angrily - which could lead to violence and a significant impact on the local community.

"We deeply regret that the wider community in Govan will be subject to this disruption. However, police have made it absolutely clear that this could be made worse if these people are not allowed to march.

"The council has asked the organisers to voluntarily withdraw this notification, which they have refused to do.

"Today, we are directly appealing to them to reconsider that decision and think about the impact of their actions on the community in Govan and on tensions across the city.

"We also call on other groups not to mount protests against the march."