PRO-ISRAELI groups were blocked from taking part in an annual anti-racism march in Glasgow that was boycotted out of protest by the Muslim Council of Scotland.

The balaclava-clad members of Red Front Republic, a group which claims to be "Scotland's anti-fascism, racism and bigotry movement"and "pro-Scottish Independence" say they took direct action with others to stop the participation of the Confederation of Friends of Israel - Scotland and other pro-Israel groups in the Stand up to Racism – Scotland march.

COFIS said they understood police had asked that they keep away from the main body of the march.

The Herald:

Some managed to march segregated from pro-Palestinian protesters by a line of police officers.

Glasgow Friends of Israel hit out at what they described as "nasty racists on the streets of Glasgow in an anti-racist march".

READ MORE: Pro-Israel activist refused permission to join cross party group on Palestine

Micheline Brannan, chairman of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said: "We believe in the anti-racist message which has been hijacked by people ahead of us who are trying to stop our group from marching. They have turned it into a fight between Israel and Palestine. They've imported politics of the Middle East onto the streets of Glasgow".

Organisers said that around 1500 campaigners from a coalition of civic organisations, trade unions, political groups and others took to the streets for the demonstration on UN anti-racism day.

The Herald:

They were protesting against the "rising tide of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of refugees and migrants".

The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) withdrew from the march saying it was “disappointed to see that SUTR [Stand Up To Racism] will not stand up to apologists for apartheid and racism, in the shape of COFIS”.

Police initially said there were no reports of any issues but monitored the situation as pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators faced off during the march.

Red Front Republic that aimed to "block the Zionists" said they took action after the organisers of the march "allowed" the Confederation of Friends of Israel - Scotland to participate in the procession.

The Herald:

The group confronted the COFIS as pro-Palestinian groups chanted: "Stand up to racism, stand up to Zionism."

"Ourselves and various other groups blocked them from taking part in the march, which had left 15 minutes earlier," said the Red Front Republic.

"SUTR have made their bed with facilitating Zionists on an anti racism march and also apologising to them afterwards."

READ MORE: Watchdog rap for Police Scotland over pro-Palestinian group "interference"

They said COFIS attended the march waving Israeli flags "trying to provoke a reaction while playing the victim card, and calling protesters 'anti-semitic' for opposing them".

Nigel Goodrich, the convenor of COFIS and chief executive of Scotland’s annual International Shalom Festival described those who protested against the Israeli involvement as "people with hatred in their hearts and maybe nothing between their ears".

He sought a duty inspector in a live broadcast to explain why they could not carry on with the march who told him: "I am just liaising with my tactical advisor. In terms of causing more disruption, I don't want to do that, so, bear with us."

Mr Goodrich added: "They don't want there to be any more disruption. The disruption is being caused by them.

The Herald:

"We are trying to march on a stand against racism, as we did last year, but the racists of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign have basically controlled the streets and we have to march behind them. But we are marching."

He earlier wrote on social media that “COFIS abhors all forms of racism".

He said: “We have been made aware of aggressive attempts to prevent us from taking part, orchestrated by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).”

The demonstrators marched from Holland Square to George Square in Glasgow, where a rally was held.

Speakers included SNP MP Alison Thewliss, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Labour MSP Anas Sarwar.

Stand up to Racism – Scotland were approached for comment.