Arrests after ‘racist and sectarian singing’ during Orange walks in Glasgow

Police condemned people ‘intent on causing offence and stirring up hatred’

Emily Goddard
Saturday 18 September 2021 21:04 BST
‘Racist and sectarian’ singing at Orange marches in Glasgow

Police have made several arrests after “racist and sectarian singing” took place during Orange Order processions that shut streets across Glasgow.

Thousands of people marched on city centre roads and past Catholic churches, prompting counter-protests.

Members of Call It Out, a campaign group that opposes anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry, held vigils outside churches on the routes.

Up to 800 police officers were deployed to manage the event.

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, the divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said: “We are aware that on a number of occasions today there have been outbreaks of racist and sectarian singing by some of those attending to support the Orange Order processions, this is utterly unacceptable and we completely condemn this behaviour.”

He said police were seeking to take action against those “intent on causing harm and dividing our communities” and several people were arrested in connection with various offences.

“Once again, we see a number of people intent in causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs. I want to again condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms,” Ch Supt Sutherland said.

“It is clear that sectarianism remains a serious, ongoing problem in Scotland and whilst policing has an important role in tackling this type of behaviour, this is a collective problem and needs to be addressed in a collective, collaborative manner.”

The Church of Scotland condemned “anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism”.

“We have a very close working relationship with the Roman Catholic Church,” it wrote on Twitter.

“Over the years we have worked together to tackle sectarianism and support one another.”

Crowds lined city centre streets as the marches went along roads such as George Street and West George Street, and there was a large police presence at Glasgow Green where members of the parades gathered in the afternoon.

Glasgow City Council said 32 roads had been closed off for the processions until the mid-afternoon.

In 2018 a Catholic priest was attacked outside St Alphonsus’ Church in the city as an Orange walk marched past.

Call It Out said its supporters had gathered outside St Benedict’s in Easterhouse and Blessed John Dun Scotus in the Gorbals as marches went past to “say no to hatred on the streets of Glasgow”.

“Our resolve is stronger than ever and those willing to stand with us are growing in number. No to anti-Catholic marches past Catholic churches No to institutional anti-Catholicism,” it tweeted.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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