MANNY Singh, the chief organiser of the successful march and rally for independence in Glasgow on Saturday, has been charged with refusing to comply with the 11am start time imposed by SNP-led Glasgow City Council.

Despite there being no arrests and no trouble at the march in which up to 100,000 people are estimated to have taken part, Singh was visited by police officers at his home yesterday morning.

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Singh says he was charged under Section 65 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 which states that anyone convicted of holding a procession that does not comply with the relevant council order can be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of up to three months.

All Under One Banner, for which Singh is the operations director, had been ordered by the Public Processions Committee – comprising two SNP members and a Greens councillor – to gather the marchers at Kelvingrove Park and start the march at 11.30am, two hours earlier than planned, after the emergency services warned of possible “significant disruption” in the city centre.

The National: Manny Singh said he would cite human rights on freedom of assembly in his defenceManny Singh said he would cite human rights on freedom of assembly in his defence

After meeting with senior police officers, Singh went ahead with the 1.30pm start having given them several assurances regarding public safety.

Singh told The National: “There are demonstrations happening all over Britain just now that don’t have one per cent of the planning and organisation that we put into the Glasgow march which was entirely peaceful.

“We told the police and the council a year ago what time we would start. We had people coming from far and near and we just couldn’t change the start time at the last minute.

“I will be defending this charge to the fullest, and will cite the freedom of assembly section of the European Convention of Human Rights.

“Freedom can never be won by bending the knee.”

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Singh later released a statement addressed to “the 100k strong AUOB Independence supporters”.

He said: “As you would have heard, I have been formally charged under section 65 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

“Firstly I want to say you may notice I don’t smile much at each march. That is because my responsibility is to make sure everyone who attends the march is safe and protected, also that no distribution or infiltration takes place. Once it is over and the last thing is done, then I smile.

“I worry about a lot of things that can go wrong and how to deal with them if any such situation was to arise. I have a dedicated volunteer stewards team, First Aid etc that make my life so much easier.

“Now I always knew that the unionist Glasgow City Council could push for this. I evaluated the risks to myself and only myself about what would happen if I defied GCC and their ridiculous demands to keep numbers low.

“Worst case a heavy fine and three months custodial sentence. That is nothing compared to others not just in Scotland but worldwide who endured death, torture, jail to make their nations free.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 39-year-old man will be the subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal for failing to comply with conditions imposed on a procession.”

In addition the spokesperson confirmed that two arrests had been made on Saturday but neither featured participants in the march.