THE march and rally for independence being organised by All Under One Banner (AUOB) for Glasgow for next month is too big to handle, according to Police Scotland and the local council, who say the route and time of the event must change.

The police and local authorities around Scotland have constantly played down attendances at AUOB marches but have had to take account of the success of the demonstrations last year that drew an estimated 50-60,000 to Glasgow and possibly twice that number to Edinburgh.

Now the authorities have admitted that in a country where there is apparently no appetite for independence, some 100,000 people will give up their Saturday to march in Glasgow.

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“It’s a compliment in a way that they are finally taking us seriously,” said Manny Singh of AUOB, who is the named organiser for the march on May 4. “We have stated from the beginning that our start time is 1.30pm prompt.

“The reason for that time is the significant numbers of people who are coming from near and far. We have to accommodate them and they are coming not just from Glasgow and all over Scotland, the rest of Britain and Europe, but from Canada, the USA and even Australia and New Zealand.”

The National:

The National’s sister paper the Evening Times broke the story of the row. It reported: “Police and fire chiefs are warning All Under One Banner’s plans to march from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green on Saturday, May 4 could have a significant, detrimental impact on the city centre due to a larger than expected number of marchers.”

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Glasgow City Council has called a meeting at 11am on Tuesday to discuss the event, but AUOB say they will not back down. Singh told The National: “The Orange Order and other groups get to march when they want so why can’t we?

“This ridiculous notion that Glasgow as a city can’t handle a 100,000 crowd when Edinburgh, a much smaller city, handled it last year makes us think we are being discriminated against.

“Glasgow is used to huge football crowds in the city centre and deals with them, so what is the problem with a march that will be well stewarded and peaceful as all our events are.

“All other councils around Scotland have worked well with us. For example, we advised Glasgow that they should have a Temporary Traffic Restriction Order but they refused to make one, yet other councils have done so.

“We even offered to change the time by an hour but the council was not willing to compromise.”

According to the Evening Times, police have called for the earlier start time to reduce the “detrimental effect” so many marchers would have on the city centre, while Scottish Fire and Rescue said that if no changes were made to the procession, “a major incident would have to be declared to manage a response to any incident in the city centre”.

Permission has also not been fully granted for the rally element of the event at Glasgow Green, though police have recommended its use for dispersal purposes.