Glasgow marches will go ahead - despite fears of repeat sectarian clashes

Roit police clashed with protesters and marchers in Govan last weekend.
Roit police clashed with protesters and marchers in Govan last weekend.
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Authorities have confirmed two planned processions in Glasgow will go ahead despite concerns last weekend's rioting could be repeated.

Riot police in Govan intervened when violent clashes broke out between a Republican march and a Loyalist counter-protest.

The ugly 'sectarian' scenes - which saw hundreds of people clash on both sides - were condemned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

But now Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland have confirmed that processions planned for this Saturday will go ahead.

Annemarie O'Donnell, the Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, said: "The scenes we saw in Govan on Friday were a disgrace and they must not be repeated. However the options open to Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland are limited, both by the law - people's right to march and protest - and by circumstance.

"At this time, I am satisfied that severely restricting or prohibiting Saturday's processions would not reduce the likelihood of further trouble and might place additional burdens on Police Scotland as they manage an already difficult situation. I understand that people may not agree with this decision, but after my discussions with the police I am convinced this presents the best chance of keeping people safe."

She said that the organisers of the marches and protests must take responsibility for ensuring the events are safe, adding: "They must commit themselves to behave in a way which will not further stretch the patience of their fellow Glaswegians."

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Following the disorder last Friday, we provided further information at the request of Glasgow City Council about two processions planned for Saturday, 7 September. 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."