Glasgow & West Scotland

Flute band condemn council over parade violence fears

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

Organisers of a loyalist march have condemned council claims there would be disorder if the event was cancelled.

The Pride of Govan Flute Band hit out after Glasgow City Council said it had been put in an "impossible position" by Police Scotland.

Officials said the force warned cancelling Saturday's march could lead to violence.

But the band said it had never intimated there would be trouble if the parade was called off.

It also claimed it would have considered postponing the event for a few weeks but a council lawyer could not guarantee the same route it has used for the last 26 years.

'Same rights'

A band statement said: "We have been in constant dialogue with Glasgow City Council since Monday and at no time have we intimated that there would be any violence or disorder if our parade was to be cancelled."

After declining to scrap the event the band said it agreed to two changes of route, one proposed by the council and the other by the police, which they reluctantly agreed to.

The spokesman added: "We are as much a part of the Govan community as anyone else is and should be afforded the same rights as others without prejudice or discrimination by a nationalist GCC.

"We would ask GCC and Police Scotland who are making these threat's of violence and disorder?

"Surely if Police Scotland are aware of people making threats then they should do their job and deal with the individuals accordingly."

'Respect and decorum'

The statement concluded: "On Saturday we will have our parade, we will lay our wreath and we will pay our respects to the fallen servicemen of our community.

"We would again ask that anyone attending our parade does so with respect and decorum."

On Thursday it emerged four loyalist marches have been given the go-ahead to take place in Glasgow on Saturday despite concerns over sectarian disorder.

Planned marches

Saturday 21

Independent Loyal Orange Order - starts 10:00 - 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West of Scotland Band Alliance - withdrawn

Counter-demonstrations

Image caption Hundreds protested at the decision by Glasgow City Council to ban last weekend's marches

Last weekend a protest was held in Glasgow's George Square after five marches were banned by the council following an emergency meeting.

The marches were banned after violence the previous week in which a police officer was injured 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.

The weekend before, a full-scale riot developed in Govan when loyalists tried to disrupt another Irish republican parade.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon later condemned the ugly scenes as "utterly unacceptable".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption About 1,000 people were involved in marches and counter protests

Despite the concerns over further disorder, all four of this Saturday's marches are to go ahead.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: "I need to appeal to people who plan on taking part in processions or counter protests to do so peacefully."

On Thursday a Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "The council has been placed in an impossible position in relation to the parade in Govan.

"Police Scotland has said that, should the procession not go ahead, many of the 800 people due to take part will react angrily - which could lead to violence and a significant impact on the local community.

"We deeply regret that the wider community in Govan will be subject to this disruption. However, police have made it absolutely clear that this could be made worse if these people are not allowed to march."

The spokesman called on other groups not to mount protests against the march.

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