RIVAL factions have clashed in a stand-off involving police as trouble flared after an Irish unity march and counter protest in Glasgow.

Police were called to Govan Road on Friday night as bins were set on fire and missiles were thrown as fights broke out between Irish republicans and loyalists.

It is understood officers have been trying to break up the fight.  

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Govan Road was shut off by police vans and riot police were sent to the scene. Witnesses reported that smoke bombs were being used. 

Around 200 were estimated to have turned up to the Irish unity march organised by the James Connolly Republican Flute band at Elder Park in Govan at 630pm.

But zn estimated 400 loyalists descended on the scene.

Officers swooped to deal with what some described as "a riot" between Elder Park in Govan, down to Govan Road outside St Anthony's Church.

The flute band were attempting to move from the park when they were confronted by loyalist protesters.

Riot police set up road blocks in a bid to contain the violence while police helicopters were drafted in.

Chants of "No IRA on our streets" could be heard.

Police Scotland confirmed it had been "dealing with a large-scale disturbance in the Govan area".


A statement said that a planned parade in the area "was met by a disruptive counter-demonstration by several hundred people in the Elder Park area, with significant disorder in and around the Govan Road area."

Chief Supt Mark Hargreaves said: "Police Scotland has a duty to facilitate processions and any peaceful protest, but this kind of behaviour by persons demonstrating against the parade is utterly unacceptable.

"It is extremely disappointing to see people acting in this fashion, causing fear and alarm to members of the public as well as putting many people at risk."

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He added: "Specialist public order officers in full protective equipment, the mounted section, air support and dog units have been deployed and we are using proportionate tactics to de-escalate the situation as quickly and safely as possible.

"Police Scotland will undertake a thorough and robust inquiry and take any necessary action against those found to have been causing disruption."

There are no reports yet of any arrests.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "Due to an ongoing police incident, Govan Road is blocked between Golspie Street and Elder Street.

"Drivers are advised to avoid the area if possible."