'Robust' Police Operation In Glasgow Republican Marches

8 September 2019, 10:11 | Updated: 8 September 2019, 10:14

Police Scotland, Glasgow republican marches
Police Scotland, Glasgow republican marches. Picture: Global

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has praised police in Glasgow for a "robust" operation around two republican parades and a counter protest on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Yousaf also wished a "full and speedy recovery" to a police officer injured by a firework thrown during the incident.

About 1,000 demonstrators and counter-protesters took to the streets, resulting in 10 people being arrested for a "variety of offences", according to Police Scotland.

Police create a barrier between Loyalist protesters and Republican marchers
Police create a barrier between Loyalist protesters and Republican marchers. Picture: Global

An officer who was struck by a pyrotechnic during the parade was taken to hospital for treatment, with Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins saying he was "disgusted at the recklessness and stupidity" of the protesters throwing fireworks and flares.

Following the march, Mr Yousaf said: "I am very grateful to all of the officers and police staff involved in the robust policing operation around two processions in Glasgow this afternoon.

"I hope the officer injured as a result of a pyrotechnic thrown during the event will make a full and speedy recovery.

"This is a further reminder of how Scotland's police officers put themselves in harm's way to keep all of us safe."

While recognising the right to hold processions and demonstrations as "central to our democratic society", Mr Yousaf added: "It is important that we do not lose sight of the collective need for action to achieve a zero-tolerance approach towards sectarianism and offensive behaviour. Scotland's communities also have a right to feel safe and to be protected from disorder and thuggery.

"At my meeting with the city council and police on Thursday, we discussed a range of issues, including approaches for the future, including potentially allowing the council to reduce the number of marches.

"I told the council leader that we are open to considering all options, including looking at the potential for changes to legislation and guidelines should these be necessary. We've decided to meet again to explore all options. I'm open-minded to that and I gave that commitment to the council leader."

The decision to allow the marches to take place was made by Glasgow City Council following advice from Police Scotland despite similar marches descending into violence the weekend before.

Mr Higgins said: "We had significant resources deployed throughout Glasgow city centre as these public processions took place.

Police hold loyalist protesters back as Republican march passes
Police hold loyalist protesters back as Republican march passes. Picture: Global

"The majority of those who took part in the processions listened to us and complied with our instructions.

"A significant number of those who attended as part of the counter-protests were intent on stopping the processions from taking place but were prevented from doing so by prompt and decisive police action.

"I am, however, disgusted at the recklessness and stupidity of those who decided to throw pyrotechnics, one of which injured an officer.

"He was simply carrying out a duty which allows us to facilitate people's rights and ultimately we were here today to keep everybody safe.

"We take the welfare of our officers very seriously and will be supporting him and his colleagues as he recovers, and will continue in our work to trace those responsible.

"I utterly condemn any acts of violence and would like to thank officers and staff whose dedication and professionalism helped us successfully deliver a first-class policing operation on what was a very challenging day."