In a report titled Street Processions in Strathclyde -- July 4 and July 11 2009 -- Violence, Disorder and Antisocial Behaviour, police have detailed the incidents recorded by officers at the three main Loyal Orange Order processions in the force area: Glasgow, Cumnock in Ayrshire and Airdrie in North Lanarkshire.
The report is littered with notable incidents, with returning parades in the evening, when vast amounts of alcohol had been consumed, showing a greater amount of disorder.
At barely 9am in Garscube Road in Maryhill in Glasgow officers found a male who had been stabbed, with police still waiting to interview the “unco-operative” 21-year-old.
Before 11am in the city centre on the Saturday morning of the main Glasgow parade, between 20 and 40 males were engaged in a fight, with a 15-year-old requiring stitches after being struck on the head in St Vincent Street, while 20 minutes beforehand in the Townhead area a 20-year-old was stabbed after a surge in the crowd.
At 6.15pm on Dumbarton Road in Glasgow’s west end and opposite Partick Police Station officers observed a fight between females, shortly after a man was arrested for shouting sectarian abuse. He was later found in possession of drugs.
On Duke Street in the east end a spectator was assaulted with a band stick after being approached by someone in the crowd, while at Bridgeton Cross another was arrested for calling an officer “a fenian”.
In the Possil area a bus transporting marchers back from Kelvingrove Park, the congregating point for the main parade, was targeted by youths throwing stones, while in St Georges Cross two males were found in possession of knives.
A man was also cautioned at Kelvingrove under the Terrorism Act for wearing a polo shirt celebrating Loyalist terror groups, while another male was arrested nearby for shouting: “Up to our knees in fenian blood.”
But despite the litany of arrests and fixed penalties, the police have stressed that the statistics do not paint a true picture of the disorder, insisting that the heavy police presence prevented further upsurges of violence and antisocial behaviour. To give a clearer picture, the force has compared the event with 82 other Saturdays in the previous 18 months.
Breaches of the peace were 75% higher, common assaults almost 50% up, serious assaults 50% higher, weapons possession offences up 66%, racially aggravated assaults were again almost 50% higher than normal, while street drinking had increased by 122%. Most significantly, culpable and reckless conduct offences had risen by 150%.
Similar methodology found street drinking to have risen by 1775% in Cumnock, while common assaults were 558% up and breaches of the peace 168% higher when compared with 81 previous Saturdays.
The following week in Lanarkshire saw a number of Loyal Orange Lodge parades including Hamilton, Larkhall, Carluke, Lanark and Blantyre, with the biggest being in Airdrie with 11,000 participants and 90 bands.
In Airdrie, police had to deal with breaches of the peace for sectarian abuse, sectarian graffiti and illegal drinking in the street. Assaults, racially aggravated harassment, obstruction and resisting arrest, breaches of the peace and street drinking were all up markedly on the average Saturday.
The police report states: “A considerable but unknown number of offences in these categories will have been prevented due to the high-profile policing presence that accompanies both the minor village-based processions and the main Airdrie procession, as well as the Airdrie rally, and other aspects of procession transportation and assemblement.”
Some specific details were also highlighted in an accompanying report in relation to the 20 or so Irish Republican parades in Glasgow.
On one day in May of this year, 53 officers were deployed to police nine separate parades involving the Republican West of Scotland Band Alliance, as well as the Loyalist Apprentice Boys of Derry, amounting to 423 hours and costing £14,500, while a month later 45 officers were required for a parade by the Republican Cairde na hEireann.
The march cost the division more than £34,000.
Details were also provided of some marches and demonstrations which were not religious or had any connection with the situation in Ireland.
In January, 46 officers worked four hours each at a Stop The War parade that took place in Glasgow city centre, involving around 1000 participants protesting against military activity by Israel against the Palestinians. According to the report, “disorder was kept to a minimum” and the cost to the force was £2164.
More problematic was the annual May Day Parade, which involved a day of protest in Glasgow city centre again against capitalism and globalisation, with the organisers accused of refusing to co-operate with either the police or local authority.
A total of 77 officers were deployed at a cost of £20,000 for 616 police hours.