'Shameful' George Square protesters condemned by First Minister

Scotland's First Minister has branded protesters "shameful" as police were able to avert a major clash with an unknown group.

A large number of people gathered in George Square, Glasgow. The Loyalist Defence League earlier asked followers to gather over the weekend for a 'protect the Cenotaph' event in response to statues being defaced across Scotland following Black Lives Matter demonstrations. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A large number of people gathered in George Square, Glasgow. The Loyalist Defence League earlier asked followers to gather over the weekend for a 'protect the Cenotaph' event in response to statues being defaced across Scotland following Black Lives Matter demonstrations. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Hundreds of people descended on George Square in Glasgow to call for the statue of Metropolitan Police founder Robert Peel to stay in place in an event organised by a group called the Loyalist Defence League, after a protest was organised to call for its removal.

The original protest, organised by the Glasgow Youth Art Collective, was postponed due to what organisers say was a lack of access to the square and "police targeting activists".

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Read More

Read More
Black Lives Matter stir Scotland from its amnesia over slavery

The First Minister welcomed the cancellation of the protest.

At the daily coronavirus press briefing, the Nicola Sturgeon added: "Violent protest is never acceptable.

"I say to anyone that has found themselves on the streets of Glasgow in an altercation with other groups or with the police, that they should really take a long hard look at themselves.

"That is not acceptable behaviour at any time, but at this time of crisis that the country faces, I think it's particularly shameful behaviour."

A small group of people, whose affiliation is not known, could be seen coming down North Hanover Street prompting hundreds of counter-protesters to begin running towards the group before police were able to get in between the two.

Missiles could be seen flying between the two groups as police, with their batons drawn, formed a line across the street.

The unknown group were forced back up North Hanover Street, away from the square.

Police Scotland confirmed the group is not believed to be affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been protesting across the country in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

There were no reported arrests as a result of the altercations.

The First Minister said it was still an "ongoing incident" but that she had every confidence in Police Scotland to keep the peace.

She, along with other senior figures in the Scottish Government, urged protesters in recent weeks to find other ways to demonstrate than mass gatherings.

Press and photographers covering the protest were repeatedly told by protesters to stop taking pictures and video.

Chief Superintendent Alan Murray said: "Police Scotland can confirm that officers were aware of a disturbance near George Square, Glasgow today."At this time the incident does not appear to be connected to a Black Lives Matter protest."

The Glasgow Youth Art Collective said on its Facebook page: "We attempted to have a peaceful protest today in city in the style of a public consultation for the people of Glasgow to decide what would be best to happen to the racist and anti-working class statues of George Square.

"Due to the police targeting activists before we were able to gather and no easy access to the square, we have decided to postpone today's demo."

Responding to the statement from the organiser, Mr Murray said: "Police will always facilitate peaceful protest where practical and safe to do so, but overall public safety of all those concerned is a key consideration."

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director