Arrest warning over ‘violence and thuggery’ ahead of rallies

The police warning comes as a number of protests are due to take place across the country this weekend.

Warning: Anti-racism protest at George Square last week. SNS
Warning: Anti-racism protest at George Square last week.

Police have warned protesters to prepare to be arrested if they bring any “violence and thuggery” to a weekend of planned rallies.

The warning comes as a number of demonstrations are due to take place across the country on Saturday and Sunday. 

Last weekend hundreds of anti-racism protesters gathered at a rally in Glasgow’s George Square after being warned by police to stay away.

Organisers said the Glasgow Says No to Racism event was aimed at “sending a positive anti-racist message to the world on World Refugee Day”.

Glasgow Says No to Racism event.
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However, the protest was met with loyalists and members of far-right groups who gathered at the war memorial as lines of riot police fought to separate the two sides.

Just days earlier, at least six people were arrested at the square following scenes labelled “disgraceful” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Far-right groups targeted a rally calling for improved living conditions for refugees.

Images on social media showed hundreds of people in the city’s George Square as well as a large police presence with clashes breaking out.

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Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said Police Scotland will continue to provide a robust response to any potential disorder across the country.

He said: “We are aware of a few planned demonstrations and protests which are due to take place across Scotland this weekend. 

“We live in a democratic society and Police Scotland is absolutely committed to respecting people’s rights to freely and peacefully express their views.

‘My message to those who have been involved in the disgraceful scenes witnessed over the last couple of weeks is that if you continue to behave like this then be prepared to be arrested.’

Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins

“Recent disorder in George Square saw people hijacking a peaceful event with the intention of violence and thuggery.

“This remains completely and utterly unacceptable and we will not tolerate these scenes, including attacks both physical and verbal on the public and our officers.

“My message to those who have been involved in the disgraceful scenes witnessed over the last couple of weeks is that if you continue to behave like this then be prepared to be arrested.

“We have a comprehensive policing plan in place with access to additional resources that can be deployed very quickly to respond to incidents of disorder anywhere in Scotland.

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“However, I would remind people that the lockdown restrictions remain in place and people should only leave their homes for very limited purposes. Anyone who wishes to protest should find another way of doing so that keeps everyone safe.”


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