UK

Major police operation as loyalist parades get under way

Pride of Govan flute band
Image caption The Pride of Govan flute band march set off outside Ibrox stadium

A major police operation is under way in Glasgow prevent loyalist parades being marred by disorder.

Four marches were given the go-ahead on Thursday despite concerns over sectarian violence .

The events will happen exactly a week after a protest was held in Glasgow’s George Square over the cancellation of five marches at an emergency meeting of the city’s council.

Trouble has marred a series of recent events in Glasgow.

In early September, officers were called to clashes between marchers and protesters in the Govan area.

The following week, a police officer was injured by a pyrotechnic as two Irish republican marches were met by loyalist counter-demonstrations.

The counter-demonstrations at both marches were quickly contained by police, who had deployed about 400 officers in riot gear and mounted police. Eleven people were charged for a variety of offences.

There are four public processions due to take place on Saturday.

The first two, including the largest event in Govan, started at 10:00.

Two more parades are scheduled to take place at 11:00 and 12:00.

Police told a meeting of Glasgow City Council that cancelling the marches could lead to protest and that policing plans for either would be similar.

The council said it had been placed in an “impossible position”.

Saturday 21 September marches

Independent Loyal Orange Order – starts 10:00 BST – 50 participants expected

Pride of Govan Flute Band – starts 10:00 – 800 participants

Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57 – starts 11:00 – 120 participants

Springburn Campsie Apprentice Boys of Derry – starts 12:00 – 60 participants

West of Scotland Band Alliance – withdrawn

After the marches were approved, 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.”

Image copyright @JohnAitken90
Image caption There were scenes of violent disorder in Govan two weeks ago

He added: “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.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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