ANGRY thugs clashed with asylum rights protesters in George Square.

Six men were arrested after violent clashes in the city centre last night. 

It is understood that four arrested said they were there to “protect statues” and two said they were part of the No Evictions group. 

No Evictions Network attended the square to protest the treatment of asylum seekers by their accommodation provider Mears. 

Protesters from a loyalist group had arrived more than an hour before asylum rights protesters and most stood or sat in the square idle before protestors arrived at the square at around 5.55pm.Asian Image:

Large groups of the loyalists then moved in the direction of the protesters – away from the cenotaph – to meet in a clash that soon became violent. 

Two men were hauled off each other after a brawl broke out. Both sides pushed towards one another as the police attempted to separate the groups. One man was seen being handcuffed by officers. 

In a separate incident, which followed moments later, police piled on a man, appearing to arrest him, as a crowd beside sang Rule Britannia. It is not clear to which group the man belonged. 

There were reports that a group chased someone down Hanover Street and officers were seen running down the road just after 6pm. A police spokeswoman said this was not something she or the officers she was speaking with were aware of. 

Police then separated the two camps and asylum rights campaigners countered another rendition of Rule Britannia with chants of “No borders. No nations. End deportations.”Asian Image:

A speaker with a megaphone in the No Evictions camp outlined the group’s demands, which are for asylum seekers to be released from hotel “detention”, which they say is unsafe and inhumane. 

The protesters were led away from the square at around 6.30pm after organisers decided the situation was “not safe”. 
They accused the housing provider for asylum seekers, Mears, of failing to meet its duty of care for its charges. 

In a statement put out yesterday, the group claimed that asylum seekers currently housed in hotels across the city are going hungry because they are being fed what they say is culturally inappropriate food. They have also claimed that some meals have been unsafe to eat.

Mears have categorically denied this, saying that independent observers, including the Scottish Refugee Council, had inspected the accommodation. 

A spokesman said: “We do not recognise the claims made by the No Evictions Network about the quality of asylum accommodation and support in Glasgow.

“Asylum seekers are not ‘detained’, they voluntarily apply for asylum and are free to come and go from the accommodation that is provided, although we do ask that Covid-19 guidelines are observed. 

“The hotel accommodation that is currently being used as part of contingency arrangements during Covid-19 is all of a good standard. All hotel rooms provided have private en-suite bathrooms, TVs and wi-fi internet access.Asian Image:

“The food served in the hotels is of a good standard, being the same quality as is normally served to guests, and it has been rated as good in our feedback survey from asylum seekers.

“No Evictions Network have circulated pictures of food which we can confirm are categorically not pictures of food served by the hotels.”

Pat Ponsonby, 60, was standing in front of the Cenotaph from around 5pm onwards. 

A veteran of the armed forces, he said he was there to defend the statue from vandalism. 

“Look what happened in London, it’s disgusting,” he said.
“We’re here to prevent anything that happens to the Cenotaph here in Glasgow. 

“If there’s people here to protest, I have no time for that. I’m here to protect this Cenotaph, that’s my sole purpose.”
London’s Cenotaph was vandalised by Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this month. 

Police confirmed that no statues were damaged during last night's events.Asian Image:

Another man who did not wish to be named told the Glasgow Times that he was there to protect the cenotaph from being vandalised by radical protesters.

No Evictions has made no previous statements about vandalising statues and the practice has been associated with the separate Black Lives Matter movement.

Political figures condemned last night’s events in the strongest terms.

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Justice Secretary and Glasgow Pollok MSP, said on Twitter: “Briefed by Police Scotland on disorder in George Square. Let’s not mince our words, this has nothing to do with statues and everything to do with racist thuggery. 

“Police have made a number of arrests already and will continue to take all necessary action against those responsible.”

The leader of Glasgow city council, Susan Aitken, said that Glasgow had “stood against racism before and the city will do so again”.

Ross Greer, a Greens MSP for the West of Scotland region, wrote that Scotland has a “fascism problem” which must be confronted. 

The Scottish Refugee Council expressed concern that the violence would overshadow the protesters’ original demands for safer accommodation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, responding to the disorder, said: “Disgraceful scenes in Glasgow tonight. Racist thugs shame Scotland. If they break the law, they should face the full force of it. And all of us should unite to say that welcoming refugees and asylum seekers is part of who we are.”

Police Scotland confirmed that six men were arrested.
Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves said: “We had an appropriate police presence in place to ensure public safety during the demonstrations in the George Square area on the evening of Wednesday, June 17.

“So far, six men have been arrested for minor public order offences and reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“A review will be undertaken and should any further criminality be identified appropriate action will be taken.”