There was a major protest held in Glasgow on Saturday. The Scottish Defence League (SDL) had applied to police for the rights to hold a protest
outside the central mosque. Scotland United, which is formed of many groups including the Scottish Soclialist party, trade unions, SNP, United Against
Fascism, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and many others, formed a counter demonstration. The police, quite rightly, refused both groups
permission to congregate outside the mosque. I decided to march in support of Scotland United, and what a day it was!
We gathered at Glasgow Green to a carnival atmosphere. The weather was good, the people were happy. There crowd was a mixture of every part or
society, young and old, men and women, babies in prams and dogs on leads. It felt wonderful to be a part of it.
We marched down Clyde St, up Jamaica St, along Argyle St up to George Square. The city centre was busy and the people lining the street were smiling,
clapping and showing their support.
When marching along Argyle St there was one man at the side of the road started shouting racist comments at the protesters. The police swooped in
quickly to move him away and everyone kept their tempers. Then when we reached Queen St the same guy and a few SDL supporters had taken a shortcut
down a lane and started again shouting abuse at the protesters. The atmosphere changed in a second! The crowd roared 'booooooo!' and suddenly surged
in their direction. The police were again very quick in moving into position and getting rid of the troublemakers.
I must say that the police were excellent the whole time and many people attending the protest commented on this. They seemed to be having as good a
time as we were, laughing and joking both amongst themselves and the protesters. It was a lovely thing to see.
There was over 1,500 of us in total. There was only 70 or so at the SDL protest.
They were pinned in up at Cambridge St on the other side of town. There was also a small counter-protest across from them. They were brought in by
bus, protested for a while, then immediately got on a bus again to be taken away from the protest site. Members of the public were heard shouting
'scum' at them. a friend of mine said they looked very intimidating and many of them had their faces covered.
There was only 5 arrests, which is a great result for having two high-profile conflicting protests. I think the Glasgow police force have good crowd
skills from old firm games and the many orange walks the city experiences.
I'm so glad that our protest was so large and theirs was so small. It shows that Scotland is a country that respects people of any colour, any
religion, any background and from any part of society. The SDL's 'anti-islamist' movement does nothing apart from create tension. I was shocked to
hear that some SDL supporters were arrested outside Central Station for giving Nazi salutes. We need to stand for our communities and against those
that want to break them up.
Five arrests in Glasgow 'anti-Islam' protest
Brief report from the anti 'SDL' in Glasgow
[edit on 16-11-2009 by Nammu]