Council allow two Irish republican parades to go ahead after Govan riot

UK Today

Glasgow / News / UK

Two planned Irish republican parades in Glasgow city centre will go ahead as planned despite rioting during a protest last Friday.

The council decided, after discussions with police, not to overturn the decision to permit the parades.

Police said that they would still need the same amount of officers on standby at the locations in case people turned up anyway.

The decision follows violent scenes last Friday in Govan as loyalist protesters disrupted an Irish Unity march by the James Connolly Flute Band.

Police in riot gear had to keep factions separate and bins were set alight.

Following the trouble the police provided updated information on the two upcoming parades yesterday to the City Council.

Annemarie O’Donnell, Glasgow City Council Chief Executive, met last night and today with the organisers of the two parades and with police to discus the latest police information before the council reached a decision.

Ms O’Donnell, 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.

“Ultimately the responsibility for ensuring that Saturday’s marches are safe lies with the organisers and the protesters. They must commit themselves to behave in a way which will not further stretch the patience of their fellow Glaswegians.”

The decision however is not final and could be changed if new information emerges. 

The two marches that are planned for Saturday are the Cairde na hEireann calton Republicans from Millroad Street in Calton to the La Pasionaria monument in Clyde Street leaving at 1.30pm.

The second march is being organised by the Friends of Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association to take place from Blythswood Square at 3pm heading to Barrowland Park.

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.

“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 Scottish media reported  how the decision to allow the two marches was being reviewed once police provided updated information following last Friday’s events.

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