MORE than 20 businesses in a coastal Scottish town closed on Saturday due to an Orange Order gathering.

Plans for an Orange Order march in Stonehaven were blocked by councillors earlier this month after a petition opposing the march garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

Many businesses had threatened to close if the march was permitted to go ahead.

The event was intended to mark the opening of an Orange Lodge.

However, after an appeal against the decision of Aberdeenshire Council to block the march was unsuccessful, the Order instead gathered in the town hall.

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Police patrolled as buses dropped members off at the venue, with locals noting their larger-than-usual presence in the town.

Still, despite the council’s decision to block the march many businesses still decided to close on Saturday.

It comes after a Rangers FC supporters’ group – the Vanguard Bears – urged its followers on social media to boycott the businesses after a list of those intending to close was posted online.

“Return the serve — shops and businesses to avoid in Stonehaven,” said the group on X/Twitter.

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“Remember to give them a review on-line.”

One business – the Number 44 Hotel and Bar – said on Facebook: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience but we have took the decision to close on Saturday 16th March.

“Despite the Sheriff upholding the ban on the march tomorrow, there is still potential for trouble and as a town centre bar next door to the new lodge, we thought it wise and our duty to close.

“We don’t want to close and can’t really afford to customers and staff safety come first”.