Glasgow set to act against sectarian parades

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A hate attack on a Catholic priest by supporters of an Orange Order parade in Glasgow has caused a major backlash and a call for a blanket ban on the openly sectarian organisation in the city.

Glasgow City Council is expected to reroute some parades following a petition calling for a halt to ‘Orange walks’, as the parades are known.

City Council leader Susan Aitken said the authority is prepared to take action to ensure marches planned for coming weeks do not pass by St Alphonsus Church in the Barras area, where the attack occurred.

Canon Tom White was meeting and greeting parishioners when he was subjected to sectarian abuse and spat upon, the Archdiocese of Glasgow said.

“Canon White and parishioners were subjected to vile abuse ... ‘Fenian bastard’ being the most typical,” the Archdiocese said.

“The priest was spat upon. Spittle landed on the back of his head. He wiped it away. Another mouthful of thick spittle was spat into his eye socket. Again he wiped it away leaving his hand full of the vile liquid.

“He was then further insulted and lunged at by a man carrying a pole before police arrived to restore some kind of order.”

An online petition to ban Orange Walks in Glasgow has now gained more than 75,000 signatures.

“Now is the time to have a real debate on how we can stop this outdated and repressive display,” the petition reads. “Glasgow City Council must act to stop these marches. They have a long history of spreading anxiety and fear amongst everyday Glaswegians. There is no room in our society for this type of bigotry and division.”

Councillor Aitken said that the council has no legal authority to introduce a blanket ban on parades, which would be a decision for the Holyrood parliament.

However, she confirmed the council plans to closely examine national legislation governing public processions, and called on the MSPs to consider how it can be strengthened.

She added: “I am acutely aware that further parades are scheduled in the area in the coming weeks - and have made it clear to officers that the council is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure those marches do not pass the scene of Saturday’s incident.”

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