Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has backed a possible moratorium on loyalist and republican marches in Scotland’s largest city.
Humza Yousaf said that “Glasgow had had enough” of the violence and disruption that recent marches have caused.
Mr Yousaf gave his full support to the “idea of exploring if there can be a moratorium on loyalist and republican marches in Glasgow to allow us to find a longer term solution”.
He spoke as Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “We need to step back for a bit and have a period without these marches.”
I have spoken to Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken over the last couple of days & I fully support idea of exploring if there can be a moritorium on loyalist & republican marches in Glasgow to allow us to find a longer term solution. Glasgow has had enough!
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) September 12, 2019
Violence has flared at parades in the city over the past two weekends, with police responding to “significant disorder” at a march in Govan on August 30.
The following weekend, 11 people were arrested as two Republican marches were held through Glasgow city centre, with a police officer injured by a pyrotechnic thrown by loyalist protesters.
The council has now stepped in to halt six marches by loyalist and republican groups which were due to take place this weekend – with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon describing this as the “right decision”.
Ms Aitken said that the “whole atmosphere and circumstances” of the parades had changed – and that the council had acted on police advice in prohibiting this weekend’s marches.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, she said: “The responses and the violence and the destruction we have seen on the city streets is simply unacceptable. We can’t have repeats of that.
“And nor can we continue to have repeats of the very, very heavy police presence that was on the city streets last Saturday. Although that was a very robust policing response it is not sustainable or desirable to constantly have 400-plus officers in full public order gear in the city streets every weekend.”
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.
Full statement 👉 https://t.co/Yy43woMv4K
— Glasgow City Council (@GlasgowCC) September 11, 2019
A moratorium on marches is being considered to “find that right balance” between the right to march and the need to protect the city, she added.
“What we need is some breathing space, we need to be able to step back.”
Ms Aitken continued: “We need to understand the situation and the organisers of the traditional parades must engage in this as well.
“They need to step up and give some confidence and some guarantees that we’re not going to see a repeat of the violence of recent weeks, and at the moment I don’t think anyone is convinced they are able to do that.”
She said advice from Police Scotland had warned of a “risk” if this weekend’s marches went ahead.
The council leader stated: “Our only concern is about marches where there is this risk of unacceptable disruption to the life of the community. Other marches can go ahead.
“No-one wants to interfere with the right of citizens, the city’s streets belong to the citizens and they are entitled to use them either to express an opinion or to celebrate a faith day or for whatever reason.
“But they cannot do that if they are going to cause violence and unacceptable disruption to the lives of the city and to communities.
“At the moment there are some marches where the risk of that is very high, and until we get some kind of confidence and guarantee that we are not going to see a repeat of that then we need to step back for a bit and have a period without these marches.”