Police said several arrests were made over racist and sectarian singing as thousands of people took part in Orange parades in Glasgow yesterday.
About 800 officers were deployed across the city centre as marchers converged from various points on Glasgow Green in the city’s east end.
A group of protesters gathered outside Catholic churches located on the routes of two of the parades – at St Benedict’s, in Easterhouse, in the morning, and later at Blessed John Duns Scotus, in the Gorbals.
A heavy police presence was in place as marchers went past both locations but there was little interaction between those on parade and protesters. However, police said later there had been cases of racist and sectarian singing throughout the day and arrests had been made.
Ch Supt Mark Sutherland, Glasgow divisional commander, 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. We have already made arrests in connection with various offences and will continue to do so where required.”
He added: “Once again, we see a number of people intent in causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs and I want to again condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.
“It is clear sectarianism remains a serious, ongoing problem in Scotland and, whilst policing has an important role in tackling this type of behaviour, this needs to be addressed in a collective, collaborative manner.”
Crowds lined city-centre streets from early in the morning, with large groups gathering around High Street and Trongate as parades moved into Glasgow Green.
About 5,000 people gathered in the park before marchers set off again in the early afternoon. Glasgow City Council said 32 roads were closed until mid-afternoon.
About 100 protesters gathered at Blessed John Dun Scotus Church in support of the Call It Out campaign against Anti-Catholic bigotry.
The Orange Order has said there had been parades in Glasgow for 200 years with little trouble and said the group was not anti-Catholic.
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