The far-right Scottish Defence League is planning a march in one of Scotland’s most multi-cultural areas in the middle of Ramadan.
The group is an offshoot of the English Defence League, essentially a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the UK.
The group has applied to Glasgow City Council for the event, which is timed to coincide with the birthday of Kriss Donald, the teenager murdered by an Asian gang in the city almost a decade ago. Kriss’s killers were the first in Scotland to be convicted of a racially motivated attack.
His family have previously condemned the SDL’s attempts to use their tragedy as a way of promoting an anti-Islam message.
Speaking of the upcoming march, a council source said: “They’ve asked for a route through Pollokshields and our obvious concern is the make-up of the local community and the fact they want to wave Kriss Donald’s name about the place. It’s also during Ramadan.
“We’re not in a legal position to say ‘go away we don’t like you’ but we’re trying to come up with an alternative and we’re speaking with one voice with the police on this. You also have the disproportionate numbers of officers required to take into account counter demonstrations.”
Glasgow City Council are liaising with the SDL to try and avoid the Pollokshields area, which it is home to Scotland’s largest Asian community, but the group has so far refused an offer to have a static protest in nearby Queens Park.
Talks were held with the group on Friday with an aim of steering them away from the Pollokshields area on Glasgow’s south side to an alternative venue. It is thought talks are ongoing to persuade the SDL to take the march to the fringes of the city centre. However 5Pillarz understands that the group has refused the offer of a static protest at nearby Queens Park and is insisting upon marching.
In March 2012, the SDL tried to lay a wreath to commemorate the murder of William McKeeney, despite his family requesting otherwise. The small scale three-hour protest cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds after mounted police, helicopters and scores of officers were deployed in the area to manage the ensuing chaos.
Glasgow City Council has previously received petitions from the leaders of political parties urging a ban on SDL marches in the city, However the city council does not have automatic powers to ban the parade and can only prevent it if the police make a robust case of public disorder.
Unite Against Fascism are planning a counter-demo and a musical event to celebrate the diversity in the area on the same day.