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Police ask council to ban Republican march

Councillors are being urged to ban a Republican parade outright for the first time in recent history after police raised fears that it would create a public disturbance.

Councillors are being urged to ban a Republican parade outright for the first time in recent history after police raised fears that it would create a public disturbance and risk injury to supporters, passers-by and escorting officers.

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An application by the Republican West of Scotland Bands Alliance to march through the east end of Glasgow this Friday evening is to be heard by the public processions committee at 1pm tomorrow .

It has provoked strong objections from Strathclyde Police, who have expressed doubt that stewards would be able to control the crowds likely to be drawn from the "Irish theme" pubs that line the route on what is usually the busiest time of the week for police.

In a formal objection to the committee authorised by Chief Superintendent David Martin, the force also raises concerns that a large crowd - potentially thousands strong - "of predominantly Republican/Irish support" attending a concert by Charlie and the Bhoys at the Barrowland venue on the same night would further swell the parade's numbers.

The timing of the march, which is due to assemble at 6.30pm at Wishart Street, puts it in conflict with the Code of Conduct on Public Processions, that only allows music to be played before 6pm unless good reasons can be put forward.

Though Glasgow City Council would not comment on tomorrow's committee meeting, it is understood that councillors are prepared to stand by the police recommendations and ban the march if an alternative date cannot be found.

No-one from the Republican West of Scotland Bands Alliance could be contacted for comment last night. The group's website describes it as an independent political organisation born out of the Troubles and committed to British withdrawal from Ireland.

The group has links with dissidents in Northern Ireland but has publicly backed the peace process. It also rejected accusations it is sectarian, stressing that it has Protestant members and has Republican rather than Catholic values.

Friday's proposed march would involve two bands: Parkhead Republican Flute Band, which used to be named after IRA volunteer Billy Reid, who was killed in gunfight after an ambush of British soldiers in 1971, and Pollok/Thornliebank Republican Flute Band.

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