TOP level talks have taken place over changing the law to put the protection of the public at the forefront of allowing parades to go ahead.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf met with Glasgow City Council leader, Susan Aitken, council officials and Police Scotland following the violent clashes during a protest at a parade in Govan last Friday.

Earlier this week Susan Aitken, had voiced frustration at the “limited powers” she said was available to the council.

She said that the council may need to “push the law” on parades to protect the public.

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At the meeting it was discussed how the current law can be better used and what changes could be made to keep people safe during parades in the city.

The number of parades that take place in the city is likely to be discussed with the intention of working with organisers and police to try and reduce their number further.

It is understood there is no intention to seek to ban parades by any particular organisations but to look at a case by case basis and tighten up the law.

The issue of public safety has come to the fore after the parade by the James Connolly Flute Band was met with protests in the street near Govan Cross.

It comes after a summer of controversy around parades by protestant organisations.

A number of marches by the Orange Order and Apprentice Boys of Derry were re-routed by the council after concerns about protests if they passed a Catholic church in Calton.

Two more parades by Irish republican groups are due to take place tomorrow in the city centre with police stating they will have “specialist resources” available to deal with any violence that may occur.

Cairde na hEireann Calton Republicans are marching from Calton to the Clydeside while Friends of Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association are marching from Blythswood Square to Barrowlands A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Today’s meeting was very constructive.

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“It is clear the council and the Scottish Government share the same objectives – to keep people safe; reduce the impact of processions on communities and, ultimately, see fewer marches.

“We’re pleased that the Minister is willing to look again at how the law can be used to meet those objectives."

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Cabinet Secretary Humza Yousaf said it was a very constructive meeting.

He said: “First of all we are united in the firm view that the kind of disgraceful scenes we saw last week must not be tolerated in a modern Scotland and that it needs a robust response.

“Anybody involved in these parades or counter-protests who intend to cause trouble for the local community need to take a hard look at themselves.

“And if they are acting in a way which is going to cause disorder, the police will take a very robust approach to that – as we saw last week, and indeed with their on-going investigations and actions following from that incident.

“We also discussed future plans around potentially allowing Glasgow City Council to reduce the number of marches.

“I told the Council leader that if there is anything we can do legislatively in this Parliament, then we will do. We’ve decided to meet again.

“We will explore the current legislation and guidelines that are in place, but also whether there should be a look at potentially new legislation in future. I’m open-minded to that, and I gave that commitment to the council leader.”