LOYALISTS are set to head to court to appeal a decision by Glasgow City Council to stop them marching past a Catholic church in the East End.

This weekend, four groups had planned to march past St Alphonsus Church on London Road where a priest was spat on and lunged at during a similar event last year.

Glasgow City Council officials, however, expressed police safety concerns and, last week, ordered the parades to be re-routed.

They did so using special powers because a meeting of the committee - which usually rules on parades  - could not be convened because of the European election and long May bank holiday.

READ MORE: Police letter outlines decision to re-route loyal and Orange Order parades

Now the four organisations, Bridgeton Orange and Purple District 37, Dalmarnock Orange and Purple District 50, Dalmarnock No Surrender Branch Club and the Apprentice Boys of Derry(Bridgeton), will appeal the re-routing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.

Jwad Hanif, partner at Miller, Beckett and Jackson Solicitors in Glasgow, confirmed he had been retained to lodge the appeal.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said the authority had been notified of the challenge.

Legal insiders have been hoping for a court challenge to clarify exactly how and when local authorities can ban Orange marches. It is not clear whether the case on Sunday will focus on more than the technical detail that the re-routing was ordered by officials rather than councillors.

Speaking last week, Glasgow City Council said the expected scale of the protest would pose a threat of disruption to the community and impact on police resources, ordering the parades to be re-routed.

READ MORE: Protest held outside Catholic church where priest was spat on

Police had raised fears over the impact the marches and subsequent protests will have on the community saying that they had fresh concerns following protests outside the church at a march last weekend.

The priest at St Alphonsus, Canon Thomas White, was spat on during an Orange March last year. This galvanised opposition to parades near churches. A group, Call It Out, was formed and has been organising counter protests.

There are concerns over the potential for confrontation. Earlier this month there were 100 officers at a parade, including specialist riot police. Previously such events was staffed by a dozen or so officers.

The Grand Orange Lodge has claimed it and related groups are victims of “anti-protestant persecution” and said police are able to manage protests by other organisations without re-routing parades.

READ MORE: Calls for end to Orange marches past Catholic churches in Glasgow

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “Now is not a good time to be a Protestant living in Glasgow. The simple act of walking down a street is now effectively banned at certain times.

“Wearing an item of clothing that identifies you as a Protestant will lead to you walking a gauntlet of bigoted protestors who object to your presence simply because you are not of their faith.

“Disappointingly, this is aided and abetted by Police Scotland and the SNP-led Glasgow City Council.”

The Orange Order has been staunchly loyalist to the both the unions of Britain and Ireland and Scotland and England. It was behind a recent unionist rally in Glasgow and has targeted the city’s SNP council for particular criticism.

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However, Call it Out has also rounded on the council, claiming leader Susan Aitken had refused to meet them in order to remain “impartial”. Ms Aitken’s officials later clarified that she felt the timing for such a meeting was wrong. Call it Out said: “It is not the job of political leaders to be impartial between bigots and their victims. She should withdraw that inference immediately.”