There were tense scenes as police “kettled” a small group of demonstrators in George Square and fellow protesters chanted “Let them go!” earlier this lunchtime. One activist tweeted: “Police Scotland have kettled peaceful protestors at George square. No warnings. Now people stuck not able to social distance.”
Organisers said the Glasgow Says No to Racism event was aimed at “sending a positive anti-racist message from Glasgow’s George Square to the world on World Refugee Day”.
Supporters include Stand Up To Racism, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, Positive Action in Housing, Afghan Human Rights Foundation and unions.
The protesters were asked to wear masks, observe two-metre distancing rules and not to travel farther than public health advice allows.
Police vans lined George Square with more than 100 officers, including riot police and mounted officers, attended the demonstration.
There were minor scuffles when a small group counter-protesters marched towards the scene and were held back by mounted police and riot officers.
Police Scotland, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and the head of Glasgow City Council had all urged people not to gather at the location.
READ MORE:Police issue strict warning to protestors over ‘violence and thuggery’
Clashes have broken out over recent weeks at the square, including violent scenes from a far-right group on Wednesday.
Chief superintendent Hazel Hendren, divisional commander of Greater Glasgow, said: “Please do not come to George Square.
“The lockdown restrictions remain in place and people should leave their homes only for very limited purposes.
“Anyone who wants to protest should find another way of doing so that keeps everyone safe.
“We continue to work with partners, including Glasgow City Council, to keep our streets safe for everyone.
“The disgraceful scenes we have witnessed in George Square are completely unacceptable and a robust policing response is in place for anyone intent on causing violent disruption.”
At least six people were arrested last Wednesday following scenes labelled “disgraceful” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Far-right loyalists targeted a rally calling for improved living conditions for refugees.
Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said Police Scotland was “absolutely committed to respecting people’s rights to freely and peacefully express their views”.
“I understand that many will want to make their voices heard. But, for now, I urge you to find alternative means of doing so.
“In normal times, everyone has a right to protest lawfully.
“It is a bedrock of our democracy and a proud tradition in Glasgow.
“But just now, just for this short time, please stay safe, keep others safe and stay away.”