14th June 2020

In_pictures Clashes headed off by police at Glasgow statue protest

In_pictures Clashes headed off by police at Glasgow statue protest

In_pictures

in_pictures Protesters at a demonstration in George Square in Glasgow.Image copyright
PA Media

Police in Glasgow have averted a clash between protesters over a statue.

Hundreds of people descended on George Square to call for the statue of Met Police founder Robert Peel to stay.

The original Glasgow Youth Art Collective protest was postponed, but a small group of people, whose affiliation is not known, came towards the square, prompting the counter-protesters to runs towards the group.

As the group came towards the square, police were able to get between them.

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PA Media

Missiles could be seen flying between the two groups as police – with their batons drawn – formed a line across the street.

The unknown group were forced back up North Hanover Street, away from the square.

Police Scotland confirmed the group is not believed to be affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been protesting across the country in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A police helicopter was deployed and could be seen flying over the city centre.

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PA Media

Press and photographers covering the protest were repeatedly told by protesters to stop taking pictures and video.

Ch Supt Alan Murray said: “A sizeable number of individuals identified as being from various groups gathered in George Square this morning with a stated intention of protecting statues.

“Throughout the day, police officers were required to intervene due to the presence of opposing groups to maintain order and public safety. Both factions included known football risk groups.

“There have been no arrests in connection with the event today. As is usual with events of this nature, a review will take place and should any criminality be identified appropriate action will be taken.”

In_pictures ‘Public safety key’

The Glasgow Youth Art Collective said on its Facebook page: “We attempted to have a peaceful protest today in city in the style of a public consultation for the people of Glasgow to decide what would be best to happen to the racist and anti-working class statues of George Square.

“Due to the police targeting activists before we were able to gather and no easy access to the square, we have decided to postpone today’s demo.”

Responding to the statement from the organiser, Mr Murray said: “Police will always facilitate peaceful protest where practical and safe to do so, but overall public safety of all those concerned is a key consideration.”

In_pictures ‘Utterly shameful’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon branded the protesters “utterly shameful”.

At the daily coronavirus press briefing, she added: “Violent protest is never acceptable.

“I say to anyone that has found themselves on the streets of Glasgow in an altercation with other groups or with the police, that they should really take a long hard look at themselves.

“That is not acceptable behaviour at any time, but at this time of crisis that the country faces, I think it’s particularly shameful behaviour.”

As she was speaking she said it was still an “ongoing incident” but that she had every confidence in Police Scotland to keep the peace.

She, along with other senior figures in the Scottish government, urged protesters in recent weeks to find other ways to demonstrate than mass gatherings.

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