ORANGE marching groups have extended an olive branch to those protesting against them as Glasgow braces itself for a summer of parades disputes.

In a rare peace overture, Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination (SPAD), an umbrella campaign, has offered to sit down with its harshest critics to defuse sectarian tensions on Clydeside.

Their gambit came on the eve of a court challenge by marching groups against a Glasgow City Council decision to force them to re-route processions away from an East End Catholic Church.

Police and other authorities have become increasingly concerned that the church, St Alphonsus in London Road, could become a flashpoint for trouble.

READ MORE: Orange marchers sue council

It was here, last July, that a priest was spat upon during an Orange walk. That prompted a series of counter-protests by a campaign named Call it Out outside Catholic places of worship passed by loyal order parades.

A spokesman for SPAD , whose members include marchers but which does not organise marches itself, said it wanted talks to ease tensions over processions.

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He said: “We need to have dialogue with the council, the police and any groups that are protesting against parades to make sure these tensions do not escalate through the marching season. It should not be hard to sit down and alleviate any problems.We want everybody around the table, including Call It Out. “