More than a thousand Loyalists, backed by members of the Orange Order, have descended on Glasgow City Chambers to protest the council’s ‘illegal’ banning of marches.

On Wednesday, an emergency public processions committee ruled that six parades this weekend – by Loyalist and Irish Republican groups – would be prohibited following advice from Police Scotland.

The move sparked uproar from the Orange Lodge of Scotland, who took action to join the Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination (SPAD) at George Square from 9.45am this morning.

READ MORE: Orange Order to protest today in George Square after 'illegal' march ban

The civic space was a sea of red, white, blue and orange as Union flags and Orange Order uniforms filled the square. 

Loud cheers could be heard as organisers made their points, slamming the council for their “disgraceful” decision to ban the marches. 

At one point, protesters held up a large white banner which read “SNP blood on your hands. IRA off our streets”. 

SPAD bosses read out a lengthy statement during the event, in which they slammed campaign group Call It Out for "orchestrating a campaign against the Protestant community".

They also blasted the "apparent double standards" against Protestant parades, while launching a scathing attack on the SNP administration within the council for what they claim is "allowing groups who openly support terrorism to walk our streets."

Their statement continued: "The Protestant Organisations all conform strictly to the regulations outlined by the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland in relation to public processions.

"These parades are conducted with an open Bible, and the organisations themselves have strict codes of conduct for all members, which must be adhered to at all times.

"In contrast, recent Republican parades haev seen significant breaches of the rules and regulations for public processions. In particular, and most worryingly, they seem to have little or no regard for the rules and regulations of the Terrorism Act 2000," they claim.

The group were making reference to the Sean Mcilvenna Republican Flute Band, who we previously reported as being under investigation by police for potentially breaching the act.

Police were out in force in George Square, with tensions heightened following two weekends of severe disruption surrounding parades in the city.

Around 100 officers monitored events as more and more protesters joined the pack.

Mounted units and riot vans were on alert in the streets surrounding the square but were not called into action as the event progressed peacefully. 

City chambers, the council’s HQ, was closed to all staff except building management after being put on alert by officers.

It’s thought that an internal staff e-mail warned employees of a “substantial” protest, with staff who were due to work being arranged to go elsewhere.

At around 9am, an hour before the protest was due to begin, our reporter witnessed council staff removing every bin from the square.

Asked what they were doing, one employee said it was to make sure they were not set on fire during the protest.  

There were five Loyalists and one Irish Republican parades planned in the city this weekend.

On Saturday, the Republican Network for Unity, Bridgeton Protestant Boys Flute Band, Pride of the North Flute Band and two marches from the Whiteinch Orange and Purple District were due to take place.

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

The Orange Order announced the decision to join the Loyalists demonstration in a statement Wednesday – despite making moves to distance themselves from groups involved in the heated incidents with police in the last fortnight.

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Orange Lodge, said the group could “no longer ignore…whilst our democratic right of free assembly is curtailed by politically motivated anti-unionist nationalists.”

He added: “It is a sad day for democracy when a narrow-minded band of anti-unionist nationalist councillors, aided and abetted by Police Scotland, abuse the law and introduce illegal measures that curtail a citizen’s right of peaceful assembly”.

Marches between Irish Republicans and Loyalists have been at the centre of a media storm in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Why one Orange march is going ahead just 3 miles from banned parades​

Last Saturday, a major policing operation was deployed in the city centre as two Republican parades – by the Cairde Na Heireann Calton Republicans and the Friends of Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association - were met with protests.

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 on August 30, riot-like scenes erupted in Govan after Loyalist protesters disrupted an Irish Unity march by the James Connolly Republican Flute Band.

On Thursday, the council revealed it is investigating whether a moratorium on public processions could be introduced to ease tensions while a long-term approach to parades is considered.

The move was backed by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, who wrote on Twitter: “Glasgow has had enough!”