A fantastic demo in support of refugees was ended prematurely by a bizarre decision of the police to protect a small bunch of racist thugs.
The "Refugees Welcome Here" Demo in Glasgow today attracted around 1000 people from many countries and all walks of life. There were a dozen union banners, representation from all the churches and great delegations from Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester. Even the rain managed to hold off for the duration of the demo, and the closing rally in George Square was relaxed, friendly, lively and determined.
A group of SDL thugs were seen in George Square earlier in the day, but left before the demo began to assemble. No more was seen of them during the march and rally.
Speakers at the closing rally included Sandra White MSP, Humza Yousaf MSP, Patrick Harvie MSP, Robina Qureshi (Director, Positive Action in Housing)and many others.
This is just the start of the campaign to stop the eviction of asylum-seekers from their homes in Glasgow.
Unfortunately, the rally came to an unexpected close before all the speakers had been heard following an announcement from the organisers that were they "obliged" to end the event .
It subsequently emerged that the police had threatened to use the Public Order Act to disperse the rally on the grounds of public safety. The police later escorted around 20 SDL/BNP thugs into George Square for 15 minutes.
Several anti-fascist activists are said to have been arrested during the afternoon as a result of protesting against the SDL. No further details are available.
The presence on the demo of many asylum-seekers potentially vulnerable to police harassment was no doubt in the minds of the march organisers when they decided not to resist the police threat. Without that factor, we would have been entirely right to call the police bluff and see if they were really willing to arrest peaceful demonstrators, MSPs and trade union leaders.
The behaviour of the police was scandalous. We all need to consider whether "business as usual" can continue with Strathclyde police under these circumstances.
SACC is one of the organisations that gave its official support to the "Refugees Welcome Here" demo. We will give the firmest possible support to any complaint made to Strathclyde Police over these events.
Fantastic Refugees demo scarred by police accommodation of fascist thugs - report from ISG