Glasgow City Council to 'push the law' to protect public from sectarian disorder

The scene in Govan Road after trouble flared following a Irish Unity march and counter protest. Picture: PA
The scene in Govan Road after trouble flared following a Irish Unity march and counter protest. Picture: PA
Share this article
0
Have your say

The leader of Scotland's largest local authority has vowed to "push the law" to ensure public safety after sectarian disorder erupted in Govan last week.

Susan Aitken, who leads the SNP administration on Glasgow City Council, said existing legislation may have to be tested in the courts to strengthen the authority’s hand when dealing with political marches.

Riot police were called to central Govan on August 30 after an Irish Republican procession was met by Loyalist counter-demonstrators.

Several businesses reported shutting their doors to protect customers inside, while the local Subway station was temporarily closed to passengers during an incident described by police as "significant disorder".

READ MORE: Outrage at sectarian disorder in Govan

Glasgow councillors have faced repeated criticism for allowing too many marches in the city which disrupt traffic and encourage anti-social behaviour.

But Ms Aitken said the local authority was legally obliged to facilitate processions.

"I am absolutely clear that the council's procedures are not in any way at fault here," she said today in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland. "The council made the decision that the council has the ability to make.

"Over the past year, Glasgow City Council has pushed the law as far as we can on this, to the extent of being taken to court. And it may well be that we have to do this again."

Speaking on Saturday, Holyrood’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Government would work with Glasgow City Council on any proposed action it may take.

He added that the blame for the disorder in Govan “lies with the grown men who think it is ok to fight centuries old battles on our streets in 2019”.