Glasgow & West Scotland

'Orangefest' scaled back in gales

Orange Order event in Glasgow Image copyright PA
Image caption The event in Glasgow city centre was being followed by a parade

A controversial Orange Order event dubbed "Orangefest" has been described as a success, despite being hit by bad weather in Glasgow.

Some parts of what the Order described as a cultural and heritage day were scaled back in George Square, with rain and high winds dampening the turn-out.

An online petition opposing the event was signed by more than 28,000 people.

Organisers said it had been a "wonderful day", despite the weather which saw gusts of up to 50mph.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Spectators had to contend with rain and high winds

The event included music and speeches and was culminating with a 400-strong parade through the streets.

Two large exhibition marquees and a children's bouncy castle were not erected as planned, but piping, dancing and talks did go ahead.

Edward Hyde, Grand Master of the County Grand Orange Lodge Of Glasgow, said the day was all about explaining the organisation's history and background.

He added: "Unfortunately due to the velocity of the wind we've had to cancel some things. Other than that the event has gone very well."

'Voices unheard'

The petition raised online argued: "The people of Glasgow and Scotland are sick of their voices going unheard in relation to sectarian, hate-filled orange marches. Now we have to put up with Orangefest."

It also called on Glasgow City Council to "answer to the people of Glasgow as to why this was allowed to go ahead in a city-centre location on a busy Saturday."

The Orange Order described opposition as "uninformed nonsense" and said "the usual suspects" had made a "last-minute attempt at discrediting" it.

"We have to live with the knee-jerk hostility of those who are diametrically opposed to the Order's religious and patriotic principles," the Order said.

'Fraternal organisation'

"For everyone else, this event is an open invitation to gain a better understanding of one of Glasgow's oldest and biggest fraternal and charitable organisations, warts and all."

The Order said that "recent government-funded studies on sectarianism advocated greater public engagement in order to tackle myths and misconceptions" and Saturday's event was "an honest contribution towards that end".

Members of the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow were also taking part in a parade through the city centre to the square.

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