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Sturgeon condemns ‘infuriating’ scenes as Rangers fans urged to ‘go home’

Large crowds have gathered to celebrate Rangers winning the Scottish Premiership despite coronavirus restrictions.

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Rangers fans celebrate in George Square after the club’s title win (Jane Barlow/PA).

Rangers fans celebrate in George Square after the club’s title win (Jane Barlow/PA).

Rangers fans celebrate in George Square after the club’s title win (Jane Barlow/PA).

Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the “infuriating and disgraceful” celebrations in Glasgow as she urged Rangers to ask people to go home.

Thousands of fans have flouted the coronavirus lockdown to gather in the streets and celebrate Rangers winning the Scottish Premiership – their first top-flight title in 10 years.

The mass gatherings have been widely condemned, with the First Minister warning that the celebrations could jeopardise plans to ease the coronavirus restrictions.

Scotland’s Justice Secretary and police chiefs have also urged rule-breakers to go home, but the pleas have gone unheeded, with fans packed into George Square and congregating outside Ibrox stadium.

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Rangers fans celebrate in George Square (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rangers fans celebrate in George Square (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Rangers fans celebrate in George Square (Jane Barlow/PA)

Shortly after 5pm, Police Scotland said a “small number” of arrests have been made and officers at the scene have been attempting to encourage fans to return home.

But by 8pm, the crowds had not dispersed, despite the police herding hundreds of people away from the stadium along Paisley Road West earlier in the evening.

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Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “I share folks’ anger at this.

“Everyone has made so many sacrifices in the past year and seeing a minority risk our progress is infuriating and disgraceful.

“It is deeply unfair to the entire country, and the police have a hard enough job already.

“Please ask fans to go home @RangersFC”.

The club have tweeted or retweeted 52 times in the six hours since they were crowned champions, but not addressed the mass gathering of fans.

Ms Sturgeon had previously offered her congratulations to Rangers and said: “I congratulate @RangersFC on the title win & recognise what a moment this is for fans.

“But gathering in crowds just now risks lives, and could delay exit from lockdown for everyone else.

“If those gathering care at all about the safety of others and the country, they will go home.”

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Rangers fans outside Ibrox Stadium (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rangers fans outside Ibrox Stadium (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Rangers fans outside Ibrox Stadium (Jane Barlow/PA)

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf also asked fans to stay at home.

He wrote on Twitter: “I understand Rangers fans will be desperate to celebrate but please remember you must stay at home.

“No mass gatherings are allowed. We cannot risk any further spread of the virus.”

Mr Yousaf warned that “UEFA will also be paying close attention as the Euros are around the corner”.

Hampden Park in Glasgow is due to host some games of the delayed 2020 European Championships in the summer.

Police Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander for the Greater Glasgow Division, said: “We are continuing to police the ongoing gatherings of football supporters in both George Square and outside Ibrox stadium today.

“Public safety remains our utmost priority and I would again remind fans that, in line with the current Scottish Government Coronavirus guidelines, all gatherings are currently restricted.

“Officers have made a small number of arrests and issued fixed penalty notices for breaches of the coronavirus restrictions, minor incidents of disorder and the use of pyrotechnic devices.

“We will continue with an appropriate policing response, as officers engage with those present, explain and encourage them to comply with the restrictions.

“Where appropriate, we have moved to enforcement and will continue to do so.”

He had previously said: “Our response will be measured and appropriate. We understand fans want to celebrate but they must do so safely and lawfully.

“We continue to ask everyone to do the right thing to stop the spread of the virus.”


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