An Irish Republican group have hit out at Glasgow City Council after being banned from marching in the city this weekend.

The Republican Network for Unity (RNU), along with five Loyalist groups, were informed at an emergency meeting of the council’s public processions committee on Wednesday that this weekends parades would not be going ahead.

This came after two weekends of violence stemming from sectarian marches and subsequent protests.

Around 150 participants from the RNU were set to march in Tollcross on Saturday but the event has since been halted.

They have since challenged the council and Police Scotland over their decision, asking whether “the same protocol be adopted on Remembrance Sunday and the 12th of July.

Glasgow Times: A huge police presence at two Irish Republican marches last SaturdayA huge police presence at two Irish Republican marches last Saturday

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In a statement they said: “On Wednesday, Republican Network for Unity Scotland were invited to attend an emergency public processions committee meeting.

“We were  hastily informed 1 hour and 45 minutes prior.

“The meeting was convened to discuss 6 public processions that were due to take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September.

“As the meeting convened it was evident from the outset that Police Scotland, the Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council were given advanced notice of this meeting.

“This was clearly evident as both bodies were able to provide in-depth reports which were specific to each organisations applications.”

The statement continues: “[The RNU] firmly believes that the decision to prohibit all precessions on that weekend had already been made prior to this emergency meeting.

“We firmly believe…that this was nothing more than a box ticking exercise and a media stunt to make sure that all legalities were followed.”

Glasgow Times: Violent scenes have erupted around marches in recent weeksViolent scenes have erupted around marches in recent weeks

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They also questioned why so many journalists were in attendence at the emergency meeting, while also challenging the legitimacy of protest threats on Saturday.

The statement reads: “Processions that had taken place weeks earlier were met with counter demonstrations.

“It has been suggested that these same protesters turned their attention to our commemoration and had already started a social media campaign to get as many as possible to attend at a prearranged meeting point on our route, however we challenge the accuracy of this information.

“Republican Network for Unity Scotland demand to know was the decision taken solely on the information on social media? We hear reports daily of misinformation throughout the internet so therefore as in many instances were there external factors involved.

“The counter demonstration and the subsequent threat of public disorder was reiterated time and time again.

“Republican Network for Unity Scotland are under no illusion if our application to hold a public procession had not coincided with 5 other organisations then this emergency meeting would not have been called because our procession was the only one that was deemed to be a serious risk.

“The onus is now on Glasgow City Council to clarify their position is this a precedent to ban all future Republican processions.”

Glasgow Times: Six marches have been banned this weekendSix marches have been banned this weekend

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The group claim that “no substantial intelligence had been received to suggest any form of counter demonstration was being organised against the other processions and when questioned on this Police Scotland could only make assumptions with no factual or substantial evidence.”

They added: “We challenge the Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council are all decisions regarding the approval of future processions now going to be based on assumptions and probabilities.

“We also query will the same protocol be adopted on Remembrance Sunday and the 12th of July to other people who also gather to remember their fallen comrades who also were combatants in war.

“For many years, Republicans from both sides of the Irish sea have gathered to remember proudly our fallen comrades.

“This year for Republican Network for Unity Scotland was significantly important as we had lost two of our members and had planned to remember them both on our procession.

“Whether it be Emmett, Collins, or Bobby Sands we have always acted in a respectful and dignified manner. We are saddened by this decision and demand answers.”
Glasgow Times: The Orange Lodge plan to protest in George Square on Saturday with LoyalistsThe Orange Lodge plan to protest in George Square on Saturday with Loyalists

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Processions had also been organised for Saturday by Bridgeton Protestant Boys Flute Band, Pride of the North Flute Band and the Whiteinch Orange and Purple District, which was planning to march in two separate locations. 

Partick Orange and Purple District had arranged to march on Sunday.

The move by the council came after a major policing operation at two Irish Republican marches in Glasgow city centre last Saturday.

On that day, a police officer was injured after he was hit by a pyrotechnic thrown by a protester and while 11 people were arrested for various offences.

And just over a week earlier, riot-like scenes erupted in Govan after Loyalist protesters disrupted another Republican procession.

Following their decision on Wednesday, a council spokesman said: "A meeting of the city’s Public Processions Committee has ordered the prohibition of six marches that had been due to take place this weekend.

"The council has always been clear that the law expects it to facilitate public processions; including those that some people oppose or find offensive.

"However, the right to march has to be balanced against the rights of people and communities across Glasgow.

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"Today, committee has acted to protect the interests of those communities - taking into account the threat to public safety and the likelihood of widespread disruption and disorder.

"Its decisions follow the recommendations made by the Chief Executive, having also considered expert evidence on behalf of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

"The city has already witnessed an unacceptable level of disruption and disorder associated with parades and counter-protests in recent weeks.

"It is clear, both from the intelligence gathered by police and the tone of comments made by supporters and protestors, that tensions are high and the situation threatens to deteriorate further.

"The council directly appeals to those who would have taken part in these marches, or who planned to mount protests against them, to comply with the orders made and not bring further disruption to city streets."

We told yesterday how senior members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland have claimed the decision to prohibit this weekend’s marches as illegal.

And members of the Orange Order are set to band together with loyalists who have organised a protest against the decision for Saturday morning in George Square.