Thousands of marchers will take part in Orange Lodge processions through Glasgow on Saturday in the largest gathering of Order members since the coronavirus pandemic.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne, the last two years.
Glasgow’s police chief has warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.
Nearly 5000 people are expected to take part in the marches which will see members of local groups converge at Glasgow Green.
“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.”Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland
The marches will be accompanied by a large policing operation working to “reduce disruption to the wider community”.
Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander of Greater Glasgow Police Division, said: “We will however not tolerate offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder and such behaviours, will be dealt with swiftly and proportionately.
“Where this is not possible during the event we will launch follow-up investigations as necessary.”
On Saturday, 24 individual Lodges will take part taking various routes through Glasgow some of which will pass 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.
Chief superintendent Sutherland said Police Scotland was aware of the protests at particular locations the processions will pass.
He said: “We continue to work with these groups to ensure their rights are protected and would again urge everyone to show tolerance, and respect the rights of others.”
Call It Out a campaign group against anti-Catholic bigotry, said it objected to a small number of routes which pass churches.
Cowcaddens Orange and Purple District 11 will pass St Theresa of Lisieux Roman Catholic Church on Saracen Street with around 200 participants.
St Benedict’s Catholic Church will be passed by the Greater Easterhouse Truth Defenders District 17.
Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57 will pass by St Laurence Catholic Church in Drumchapel on Kinfauns Drive.
When approaching all music ceases and must remain silent while services are in progress.
Call It Out said it would hold protests in opposition to the marches at sites along certain routes.
A spokesperson said: “Call it Out will organise peaceful vigils outside all Catholic Churches affected…”
“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.”Spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland
The city’s police boss said the force was a “rights-based organisation” that put a commitment to upholding human rights at its heart.
He said: “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.”
A statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “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.”