Hundreds attend anti-racism rally in Glasgow

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Media captionAnti-racism rally held despite ‘stay away’ warning

Hundreds of people are staging an anti-racism rally in Glasgow city centre despite appeals to stay away due to the lockdown restrictions.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, the city council and Police Scotland had called on the public not to gather for the Say No To Racism demonstration.

There was a heavy police presence in the square following violent scenes from a far-right group on Wednesday.

There have been no reports of any trouble.

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Graham Stewart

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Many protesters wore masks to attend the event

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Police surround members of the Green Brigade

A group of protesters from the Green Brigade – a group of ultras who follow Celtic football club – were hemmed in by police in the centre of the square.

Anti-racism protesters outside the cordon chanted: “Let them go.”

Ch Supt Alan Murray, said: “We identified a group as football risk supporters, who we believed posed a threat to public safety.

“We spoke with this group and, at their request, escorted them to the Gallowgate area of the city where they dispersed.”

Separately, a small group of about 50 loyalists were being kept apart from the demonstration by officers.

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Graham Stewart

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Police officers separated the rally from a small group of loyalists who also gathered in George Square.

Elsewhere, a protest was held at the statue of Henry Dundas, who delayed the abolition of the slave trade, at St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.

And the Loyalist Defence League has been staging a “protect the statues” demonstration at the Paisley War Memorial.

On Friday, Ch Supt Hazel Hendren, divisional commander, said: “Please do not come to George Square.”

She said: “The lockdown restrictions remain in place and people should leave their homes only for very limited purposes.

“Anyone who wants to protest should find another way of doing so that keeps everyone safe.”

At least six people were arrested on Wednesday following scenes labelled “disgraceful” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Far-right loyalists targeted a rally in the city’s George Square which was calling for improved living conditions for refugees.

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Graham Stewart

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A number of speakers addressed the anti-racism rally

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Graham Stewart

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Police arrived at George Square early on Saturday

The organisers said that the rally would “send a positive anti-racist message from Glasgow’s George Square to the world”.

Ruby Hirsch from Glasgow Stand Up To Racism said: “At a time when the anti-racist movement is growing in size and strength we need to continue to work to grow it, put down roots in every area, and build with everyone saying that Black Lives Matter, from trade unions to faith groups and all equality campaigners to defeat racism in Scotland.

“Glasgow has a proud history of standing up against racism. The protest is about coming together to send a clear message to the world – refugees are welcome in this city, black lives matter. “

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