Four Loyalist marches and one Irish Republican parade deliberate for this weekend have been been banned by Glasgow City Council over the menace to public security and the chance of widespread dysfunction. Can Glasgow now ban all marches over sectarian fears?
If the individuals of Glasgow got a vote on the way forward for Loyalist and Irish Republican marches within the metropolis, the bulk would ban them, in line with SNP MSP John Mason.
His assertion has not been examined in any dependable ballot however it’s clear many individuals have had sufficient of the sectarian dysfunction that too typically comes with the marches.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf stated it was miserable to be requested to legislate for dysfunction dedicated by grown males “fighting battles of centuries gone by”.
After a full-scale riot in Govan on the finish of August, when a march by a Republican Flute Band was met by a whole lot of disruptive Loyalist counter demonstrators, Glasgow City Council stated it deliberate to cease “morons intent on bringing mayhem to the streets of our city”.
However, it isn’t that simple.
After the preliminary powerful discuss, Glasgow Council chief govt Annemarie O’Donnell admitted choices have been “limited by law”.
And the justice secretary instructed the Scottish Parliament that the proper to parade peacefully was an necessary a part of a democracy that values free speech.
He pointed to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the proper to freedom of “peaceful assembly”.
It says no restrictions ought to be positioned on these rights aside from public security, stopping dysfunction or crime and for the safety of the rights and freedoms of others.
For this purpose, complete prohibition of marches or processions could be very uncommon however, on Wednesday, Glasgow City Council’s public processions committee made that call.
It stated it could prohibit all of this weekend’s marches due to the disruption, dysfunction and heightened tensions that had proceeded them.
The police instructed the council there had been calls on social media from Republicans to focus on Loyalist occasions and calls for from Loyalists to protest towards Republican parades.
Despite delivering its blanket ban, the council stated it was clear that the legislation anticipated it to facilitate public processions – together with those who some individuals oppose or discover offensive.
However, it stated the proper to march needed to be balanced towards the rights of individuals and communities throughout Glasgow.
How many processions happen in Glasgow annually?
Data from Glasgow City Council exhibits that the variety of marches linked to Loyalist and Republican organisations has been falling in recent times.
It exhibits that three Loyalist organisations – the Orange Order, Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Royal Black – accounted for greater than 60% of all marches within the metropolis over the previous 5 years.
Who is marching in Glasgow?
Over the previous 5 years, nearly all of the processions have been by Loyalist organisations such because the Orange Order (142 this 12 months), the Apprentice Boys of Derry (20 this 12 months), and the Royal Black establishments (20).
There have been 16 marches this 12 months classed as Republican.
The sample has remained comparable over the interval, with the Orange Order accounting for, by far, probably the most processions in addition to the largest fall within the variety of marches.
Glasgow City Council’s annual report on public processions says “the vast majority of processions pass without difficulty”.
Where there’s a vital concern for public security, public order, harm to property or disruption to the lifetime of the group, and no settlement might be reached with organisers, a gathering of the council’s public processions committee is convened.
This solely occurred 5 instances final 12 months.
Three resulted in situations being imposed amending the route and two led to an amended route being agreed at committee with the procession organiser.
After the difficulty in Govan two weeks in the past, the council had thought of calling a processions committee earlier than the 2 Republican marches and Loyalist counter protest final weekend.
In the top it met procession organisers together with cops and determined they might go forward, with a large police presence.
Police used a tactic often called “kettling” to make sure there have been no clashes between marchers and their opponents. It requires an enormous variety of officers, introduced in from all over Scotland.
BBC Scotland revealed that it price £300,000 to supply about 500 specialist public order officers to the 2 demonstrations.
The Scottish Police Federation stated that didn’t embrace different sources such because the pressure helicopter, mounted officers and traditional police.
Could there be courtroom problem?
Earlier this 12 months, Loyalist teams referred to as off 4 parades after they have been ordered re-route them.
The marches have been resulting from cross a church the place a Catholic priest had been verbally abused and spat on throughout an Orange parade final 12 months.
The resolution was challenged in courtroom however was upheld by a sheriff.
The lawyer for the 4 Loyalist teams instructed the courtroom that all his purchasers have been “seeking to do is exercise their rights to walk where they have walked for the last 15 to 20 years with largely no incidents”.
The sheriff stated it was a “difficult and anxious point” however he was happy that the council had the statutory energy to re-route public processions.
He stated the proper to freedom of expression was “not an unrestricted right”.
Glasgow City Council has referred to as for a moratorium on marches which is able to give a “breathing space” for tensions to die down.
It says it may possibly’t ban all parades as that may infringe human rights. It desires the Scottish authorities to legislate.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated she was open-minded about that.
“It is a part of our democracy to have the proper to assemble and to march and to protest peacefully, she stated.
“What is just not a part of our democracy is sectarian violence in any type. We proceed to work carefully with Glasgow City Council to verify they get the assist they should apply the legislation as it’s but additionally to be open-minded about any modifications we have to see sooner or later.”