INDEPENDENCE marches will be treated the same way as SDL protests and Orange walks in Scotland’s biggest city over risks to public safety, it has emerged.

Thousands of people paraded through Glasgow in July to a rally organised by activist group All Under One Banner.

The event is the latest in a string of March for Independence processions held by the non-party group.

It saw participants walk from Kelvingrove Park to George Square, where they were met by speakers and dozens of motorcycle-riding Yes bikers.

Police estimated 2,000 people took part in the walk, with numbers growing to 3,000 for the rally. However, organisers say the true total was between 5,000 and 8,000.

Following the July 30 event, there were no reports of public disorder, violence or arrests and those in attendance used the Twitter hashtag #MarchForIndy to share their stories of the “amazing” and “impressive” day.

But now similar events face high stewarding bills and stringent conditions after Glasgow City Council ruled that Neil MacKay of All Under One Banner, who was named as the official organiser, failed in his responsibilities and put the public at risk. From now on, any application with his name on it will be handed straight to the public procession committee, a body of councillors which handles contentious events.

A council source told The National: “The public procession committee is very rarely called – it only really happens when there is a march we want to turn into a stationary event, or a parade we want to reroute.

“That’s usually only events organised by groups like the Scottish Defence League or Hibernian or Orange Order walks.”

The council has also ruled that volunteer stewards can no longer be used at any events organised by MacKay or All Under One Banner. Instead, professional guards must be hired from registered companies at a ratio of one steward for every 10 people.

Based on the numbers for the last parade, that could force the group to hire 300-800 staff for the free-to-attend event.

In a letter, the council’s head of democratic services Jim Gray wrote: “It has been determined that you Neil MacKay have failed in your responsibilities as an ‘organiser’ in terms of the conditions set within the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, namely, public safety and disruption to the life of the community was significantly placed in high risk.

“Should any organisation submit a notification in your name as organiser of a procession, the notice will, without prejudice, be referred to a public procession committee informing councillors of the foregoing police evidence and video footage, to seek their adjudication and determination on the appropriateness of you being a ‘fit and proper’ person to organise a public procession in the city of Glasgow.”

When MacKay asked the council for the reasons behind the decision, he was told the public had been at “significant risk” because of unspecified road traffic offences.

An official wrote: “It may be your assertion that there was no acts of criminal or anti-social behaviour, however, it is clearly seen that there were offences, albeit road traffic offences, committed which placed the general safety of the public at significant risk.”

Last night the council’s SNP councillors said they are “asking for an urgent meeting with police and officials to establish their concerns over this event and to discuss requirements for any future rallies”.

Meanwhile, MacKay accused the council of using himself and his group to “set a precedent” for future pro-independence events.

He has now submitted an application for a further march on April 29 – five days before the 2017 council elections.

He said: “The council want to set a precedent – they don’t want it to happen again. The event could be knocked back but we can also appeal that at the sheriff court.”

When asked if he had fulfilled his role, MacKay said: “I have not failed in my responsibilities. There was not one instance of anti-social behaviour or crime. The whole thing was commended by the police for the way it was handled. There were lots of children there. It was a really family-friendly day.

“If we comply with this, we won’t be able to do it any more – 5,000 people would mean 500 stewards. You’re talking a lot of money.”

Police Scotland were unable to comment last night. A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The council recognises people’s right to take part in public processions, as set out in legislation.

“However, organisers also have responsibilities to the rest of the community – both under that national legislation and the local code of conduct.”

Michael McDougall from Paisley, who attended the July march with friends, said: “I felt safe the whole way round. Everyone there was in good spirits and at no point did it ever feel out of control. As far as we were concerned, we weren’t ever in any danger.”