Glasgow & West Scotland

Sturgeon condemns 'racist thugs' after Glasgow protests

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Media captionThe clashes involving demonstrators and police took place on Wednesday teatime

Nicola Sturgeon has condemned "racist thugs" as she described disorder in Glasgow city centre as "disgraceful".

Six men have been arrested by police after two separate protest groups gathered in George Square.

National Defence League supporters went to the square saying they wanted to "make and stand" and "protect the Cenotaph".

Shortly afterwards activists from No Evictions Glasgow arrived for their planned demonstration.

They chanted "refugees are welcome here" before leaving the square.

Images on social media showed some protestors clashing with police.

Both the first minister and Humza Yousaf, the Scottish justice secretary, used social media to condemn the scenes.

Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media

The first minister tweeted: "Disgraceful scenes in Glasgow tonight. Racist thugs shame Scotland.

"If they break the law, they should face the full force of it. And all of us should unite to say that welcoming refugees and asylum seekers is part of who we are."

Mr Yousaf said on Twitter that he had been briefed on the incident by Police Scotland.

"Let's not mince our words, this has nothing to do with statues and everything to do with racist thuggery," he said.

"Police have made a number of arrests already and will continue to take all necessary action against those responsible."

Image copyright PA Media

Ahead of the protests, Ch Supt Mark Hargreaves urged people not to attend the events but follow government coronavirus lockdown guidelines.

Afterwards, he said Police Scotland had an "appropriate" presence to ensure public safety.

"So far, six men have been arrested for minor public order offences and reports will be submitted to the procurator fiscal," he added.

"The majority of protesters have now left George Square and officers remain in the area for public reassurance.

"A review will be undertaken and should any further criminality be identified appropriate action will be taken."

Four of the protestors who were arrested said they were in the square to protect the statues, while the other two men said they were attending the protest calling for better housing for asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, No Evictions Glasgow accused "far-right groups" of trying to "hi-jack" their peaceful protest.

In a statement on Twitter, they said their protest was about conditions facing people in the asylum system in Glasgow - not the cenotaph.

Image caption The group from Glasgow No Evictions were guided away from George Square by police

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