MORE than 50 Orange walks and loyalist marches are set to take place in Glasgow today.
Dozens of roads across the city will be closed as thousands take to the streets for the pre-planned events – which began as early as 8am this morning.
The parades are set to spark a large turnout, with submissions to Glasgow City Council’s processions website totalling more than 13,000 participants to 53 marches – with many more expect to follow along.
It comes following the cancellation of marches last year, with the Covid pandemic ruling out large gatherings.
The plans have been met with some criticism, with various routes today passing Catholic places of worship.
Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.
When approaching a church, all music from marchers must cease and participants must remain silent while services are in progress.
Most processions, which are taking place across Glasgow, will converge in the city centre and at Glasgow Green.
Earlier this week, Glasgow’s leading police officer, Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, said his officers will not tolerate offensive behaviour, hate crimes or drunkness and disorder.
He said: “Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation that puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do.
“This means we are committed to supporting the human rights of individuals and groups who wish to assemble, balanced against the rights of the wider community and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.
“We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.
“We would urge the large majority who behave in the right way and know there is no place for poor behaviours or hate, to influence those around you to ensure the day is remembered for the right reasons, and passes peacefully.”
During the processions, 32 streets in Glasgow – including George Square, Gallowgate and Ingram Street – will be closed between 8am and 3pm.
The following roads will be closed:
- North Portland Street,between Richmond Street and George Street
- Albion Street,between George Street and Blackfriars Street
- High Street,between John Knox Street and George Street
- Saltmarket,between High Street and Clyde Street
- College Street,at its junction with High Street
- Parsonage Row,at its junction with High Street
- Bell Street, between Albion Street and Spoutmouth.
- Trongate,between Albion Street and High Street
- Gallowgate,between Trongate and Watson Street
- London Road,between Trongate and Charlotte Street
- St Andrews Street,between Saltmarket and James Morrison Street
- Greendyke Street,between London Road and Saltmarket
- Bridgegate,between King Street and Saltmarket
- King Street(southbound only), between Bridgegate and Osbourne Street
- George Street, for its full length
- High Street,between Cathedral Street and George Street
- Duke Street,between John Knox Street and George Street
- Ingram Street,between Albion Street and High Street
- West George Street,Nelson Mandela Place and George Square
- Nelson Mandela Place,for its full length
- George Square (North), for its full length
- George Square (East),for its full length
- George Square (West), for its full length
- George Square (South) for its full length
- North Hanover Street,between Cathedral Street and George Square (North)
- Montrose Street,for its full length
- Cochrane Street,for its full length
- Ingram Street,between High Street and Glassford Street
- Shuttle Street,between College Street and Ingram Street
- North Hanover Street,between George Square North and Queen St Station entrance
- Anchor Lane, for its full length
- Dundas Street,for its full length
A winder “problem” for Glasgow?
A police chief who worked in Northern Ireland for 27 years has said that it’s time to “do something” about Scotland’s sectarian “problem”.
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr added that it is “not unique” to the Orange Order in Glasgow.
He told the BBC: “It’s not unique to the Orange Order in Glasgow in any way, shape or form.
“Sectarianism is a problem in Scotland and I’ve been surprised at the level of it in some parts.
“There’s a need to move beyond defining it and talking about it and doing something about it.”
What have the Grand Orange Lodge said?
The head of Scotland’s Orange Order has said he “doesn’t see sectarianism” in Scotland ahead of the parades due to take place in Glasgow tomorrow.
Jim McHarg – who is the grand master of the organisation – added that in the last 200 years of marches through the city, there has been “very little trouble” from participants.
McHarg told BBC Scotland: “For 200 years, there have been parades in this city with very, very little trouble, if that’s the right terminology.”
He added: “I don’t see sectarianism in this country.
“I would say there’s a form of bigotry, you might see 90-minute bigotry at football matches or whatever.”
A statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland added: “The grand master Jim McHarg and Grand Lodge executive officers congratulate the County Grand Lodge of Glasgow on reaching the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in Glasgow.
“Jim McHarg stated he looks forward to a peaceful and successful parade as Glasgow’s Orange family celebrate their heritage and culture.
“We look forward to the pageantry, the colour and music and welcome the supporters of the Loyal Orange Institution who turn out to watch and enjoy the spectacle.
“Our message to everyone is keep safe and enjoy your day.”