Rangers fans forced from Glasgow George Square in ‘disgraceful scenes’

Twenty arrested amid disorder after crowds defy Level 3 coronavirus lockdown rules

Sam Hancock@samhancock95
Sunday 16 May 2021 15:09
Rangers fans forced from Glasgow George Square after celebrating win

Rangers fans were cleared from Glasgow’s George Square because of “rising disorder” after hours-long celebrations despite warnings against mass public gatherings due to coronavirus.

Thousands of fans took to the city’s streets on Saturday after the team won its first Scottish Premiership trophy in a decade, chanting and setting off fireworks.

Afer many hours, the remaining fans were forcibly cleared from George Square just after 9pm, with Police Scotland describing the fans’ behaviour as “disgraceful”.

Three police officers were injured and 20 people were arrested.

“Our officers became the focus of the crowd’s attention with missiles and flares being thrown at them,” chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, Police Scotland’s Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow, said in a statement.

The scenes, which Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf labelled “selfish and irresponsible behaviour”, began earlier in the day when fans sang and danced after ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s side defeated Aberdeen 4-0 at Ibrox.

“This selfish and irresponsible behaviour endangers the lives of others - supporters, the police on duty and the wider community,” Mr Yousaf said.

“We have already discussed this with Rangers and will liaise with Police Scotland and the football authorities to consider what further action can be taken.”

Police also confirmed they had made arrests in relation to anti-social behaviour, with video footage shared on social media showing groups of younger people becoming involved in physical brawls. One clip shows a man being punched to the ground, while his attacker is quickly approached and beaten in response.

Dozens of officers surrounded fans at the central landmark, with some being seen to confiscate alcohol and pour it away while instructing revellers to “disperse and take personal responsibility” for their actions.

After the trophy was lifted, many fans marched from the stadium to George Square. Despite an earlier request for a fan procession to the city centre being declined by police, officers later decided to escort large groups of supporters in order to minimise disruption.

Rangers fans celebrate in George Square, Glasgow, despite the city still being in Scotland’s level 3 of lockdown

Thousands of fans gather in central Glasgow, many of who do not appear to be wearing face masks

The Scottish government previously criticised Rangers’ response after thousands of fans gathered outside Ibrox, and in George Square, on the weekend they actually won the title back in early March.

“Today is understandably a significant day for Rangers Football Club and its supporters,” Ch Supt Sutherland said earlier today, adding: “We are however still in the midst of a pandemic and under coronavirus restrictions people should not be gathering for any reason. The overarching aim of Police Scotland’s operation today remains public safety.”

Rangers fans celebrate before being dispersed by police

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon issued a plea to residents of Glasgow’s southside – where she is the incumbent MSP – to get tested to help the government quash a current spike in cases, including the detection of India’s highly contagious variant.

“If you live in - or have recently spent time in - the Southside of Glasgow, PLEASE help get this outbreak under control by taking a test,” the first minister tweeted on Saturday. “I’ve just done so myself - thankfully negative!”

According to current Covid guidelines in Glasgow, large gatherings outdoors are not permitted.

Ms Sturgeon announced earlier this week that while the majority of Scotland will leave current strict measures on 17 May, Glasgow will remain in level 3 of lockdown restrictions.

A swathe of angry Glaswegians took to social media to express their disdain with the scenes coming out of the city on Saturday.

“Glasgow still in tier 3 and thousands of Rangers fans swarming the city centre today... you were saying?” one woman wrote in response to a man posting that fans “wore masks” and were all “home now”.

“Celtic have been champions of Scotland for 9 years winning a quadruple treble and not once has Glasgow seen violent scenes like this,” another woman wrote.

PA contributed to this report

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