Scotland’s first minister has branded protesters “utterly shameful” as police were able to avert a major clash with an unknown group.
Hundreds of people descended on George Square in Glasgow to call for the statue of Metropolitan Police founder Robert Peel to stay in place in an event organised by a group called the Loyalist Defence League, after a protest was organised to call for its removal.
The original protest, organised by the Glasgow Youth Art Collective, was postponed due to what organisers say was a lack of access to the square and “police-targeting activists”.
The first minister welcomed the cancellation of the protest.
At the daily coronavirus press briefing, Nicola Sturgeon 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.”
A small group of people, whose affiliation is not known, could be seen coming down North Hanover Street prompting hundreds of counter-protesters to begin running towards them before police were able to get in between the two.
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.
There were no reported arrests as a result of the altercations.
The first minister 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.
Press and photographers covering the protest were repeatedly told by protesters to stop taking pictures and video.
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