IRISH republican marches will go ahead in Glasgow this weekend despite a similar parade causing a riot last week.

Glasgow City Council had authorised the previously planned marches, but announced it would look again at the decision following "significant disorder" in the city's Govan area on Friday after "disruptive" counter-protesters met a planned Irish Unity march.

Riot police were called onto the streets of Govan on Friday evening after the march was met by loyalist protestors in scenes described by the First Minister as "utterly unacceptable".

Two men were arrested over alleged breach of the peace.

The council decided on Wednesday not to revoke authorisation for the two marches on Saturday, with the local authority's chief executive saying options are limited by the legal right to march and protest.

READ MORE: Republican group promise 'fightback' against loyalists after Govan riots 

However, the council warned the decisions could change if the situation alters and said Police Scotland and the local authority will be monitoring the circumstances surrounding the events.


A Cairde Na Heireann (Calton Republicans) march expected to attract 100 participants starts at 2pm on Millroad Street, Calton, and ends at Clyde Street in the city centre.

Meanwhile, 300 people are expected to take part in the Friends of Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) parade which starts at 3pm at Blythswood Square and ends at Barrowlands Park in the Gallowgate.

Organisers of both events met with the council's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell and Police Scotland officers ahead of the latest decision.

Ms O'Donnell said: "The scenes we saw in Govan on Friday were a disgrace and they must not be repeated.

"However the options open to Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland are limited, both by the law - people's right to march and protest - and by circumstance.

READ MORE: Two men arrested after trouble at Irish unity march causes riot scenes in Glasgow 

"At this time, I am satisfied that severely restricting or prohibiting Saturday's processions would not reduce the likelihood of further trouble and might place additional burdens on Police Scotland as they manage an already difficult situation.

"I understand that people may not agree with this decision, but after my discussions with the police I am convinced this presents the best chance of keeping people safe.

"Ultimately the responsibility for ensuring that Saturday's marches are safe lies with the organisers and the protesters.

"They must commit themselves to behave in a way which will not further stretch the patience of their fellow Glaswegians."

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins appealed for peace.

He said: "Our view is that if the processions were banned, some form of protest and disorder could still take place and the policing profile for Saturday would therefore be similar.

"If the processions go ahead it would allow us to continue to engage with known organisers to ensure balanced rights were upheld and to police the events under the conditions agreed by the council.

"I need to appeal to people who plan on taking part in processions or counter protests to do so peacefully.

"We will have a range of policing resources, including a range of specialist assets, in attendance and will take any necessary action against anyone causing disruption."

READ MORE: Neil Mackay: After the Govan sectarian rioting: five lessons which shame Scotland

On Friday, a planned march by the James Connolly Republican Flute Band was intended to start at 6.30pm but it was met by a counter demonstration of "several hundred people" from loyalist groups half an hour later.

Officers said this led to "significant disorder", with Govan Road blocked by officers.

Police are hunting for footage and images as part of an operation aimed at finding as many of the rioters as possible.

A confidential email address has been set up – to allow anyone to send mobile phone or dash-cam footage, photographs or other information, as it continues to investigate "significant public disorder" in the Govan area.