An anti-internment march by Irish republicans due to take place in Glasgow this weekend has been postponed following concerns that the parade could
lead to violence.
The procession, organised by the Independent Republican Bands Scotland, had been due to take place on Glasgow's south side this Saturday afternoon to mark the 45th anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, Glasgow City Council’s public processions committee ruled that the parade could go ahead, but only on the morning of September 3rd. The route has also been amended.
Previous marches along a similar route had ended in clashes between republicans and loyalists. In September 2014, an anti-internment parade was halted due to concerns about public safety. Twelve arrests were made.
Councillors had been told police were concerned that if the parade took place this weekend, “there would be a high risk to public safety, a high risk of public disorder and a high risk of disruption to the life of the community”.
A number of other events are being held in Glasgow on Saturday, including two Scottish Premiership soccer matches and four other processions.
Republican organisers said the proposed march was smaller than in previous years and noted that Independent Republican Bands Scotland (IRBS) had already held other parades in Glasgow without any public disorder.
The decision on the parade was referred to Glasgow’s public processions committee after no agreement was reached between the organisers and the council.
Speaking after the decision to postpone the parade, a council spokesman said: “The committee recognises the organiser’s right to hold a public procession. In the interests of public safety, it has amended the date and route.”
The decision was welcomed by Feargal Dalton, a Scottish National Party councillor in Glasgow.
“Ultimately, people have the freedom to walk on the street, and that’s a freedom that we fully support, but it needs to be done with due regard for communities,” said Mr Dalton.
IRBS are seen as being on the fringes of Irish republicanism in Scotland and have been linked with Republican Sinn Féin in Ireland.
There are more than 700 loyalist parades in Scotland each year, most linked to the Orange Order. A much smaller number, thought to be about 40, are organised by Irish republicans.
Most pass off without incident, according to Michael Rosie, lecturer in sociology and author of a report on marches for the Scottish government due to be published this year. The number of republican parades had increased since the Belfast Agreement, he said.
“There have been less protest parades and more commemorative, a celebration of a particular view of Irish culture and identity. They are generally quite small and well organised,” Mr Rosie said. “The problems are largely band parades, where the bands themselves are organising the parade, as you have in this case.”