Support for Scottish Orange Order over Glasgow parades ban
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has pledged its support for its Scottish brethren following a decision by Glasgow City Council to prohibit some parades planned for this weekend.
The Orange Order in Scotland is planning a protest in the city's George Square today against the last-minute ban decision.
The move by the local council follows serious street disturbances sparked by a pro-Irish unity republican parade in the Govan district last month.
Scottish Grand Master Jim Meharg has accused the council of "effectively weaponising" street protests.
He said: "Recently, we have seen a concerted campaign by Irish republican supporting groups to turn up at our parades under the banner of a 'protest', but cleverly designed to raise tension and cause fear and alarm to our members and the protestant communities of Glasgow.
"Nationalist councillors in Glasgow, supported by Police Scotland, effectively weaponised these protests by sending out a message that they would use the threat of protests to ban Protestant parades.
"This action led to the chaotic scenes in the streets of Glasgow as a hardcore element from both sides of the argument used this weaponised protest action against each other."
Drawing parallels to the banning of parades in Northern Ireland, a spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: "We can fully appreciate the frustration and sadness being experienced by our Scottish brethren.
"For many years, the Orange Institution in Northern Ireland has been the victim of similar, politically motivated decisions.
"The rights of peaceful assembly and religious expression should be cherished by all and protected by those elected to represent all strands of civic society."
The spokesman said it appeared that the threat of violence by those opposed to peaceful parades had again triumphed.
He added: "Too often, law abiding citizens have witnessed their rights and cultural identity being eroded in order to placate those who hate all that our institution represents.
"It is ironic the very freedoms delivered by the Glorious Revolution in 1688 are now being withheld from those who seek to cherish and commemorate it.
"In solidarity with our Orange brothers and sisters, we therefore fully support Saturday's planned peaceful protest in Glasgow organised by Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination.
"We trust that the event will cause the relevant authorities to listen to and appreciate the concerns and frustrations of those affected," the Order said.
A Republican Network for Unity march in Glasgow this weekend has also been banned.
In August, an Irish Unity march in Govan was met by hundreds of counter demonstrators.
Roads were blocked in what police described as "significant disorder".