Campaigners Call For Parades Pledge

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Organisers of public processions in Scotland’s biggest city should be made to sign a ‘hate crime’ declaration to weed out troublemakers under new proposals from the country’s leading anti-sectarianism charity.

The call was made as part of Nil By Mouth’s (NBM) submission to Glasgow City Council’s public consultation on marches and parades.

Under the proposals march organisers and performers would be asked to sign a pledge guaranteeing they will neither permit nor tolerate any behaviour which may incite or inspire religious or cultural hatred.

The charity’s submission also includes calls for: the  formal licensing of march stewards; face to face consultations between organisers and the communities where parades are taking place and a commitment from the Scottish Government to look at the issue at a national level

NBM was founded by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her friend Mark Scott in 1996. Since then it has delivered hundreds of workshops and successfully campaigned for changes in the law.

Last year NBM published a thirteen point nationwide ‘action plan’ for tackling sectarianism.

Nil By Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:

‘Whilst we have seen progress over the past decade on this issue it’s clear the sheer volume of parades in Glasgow place unique pressures on the city.

We fully accept the right to march but many of the groups involved must realise that the number of parades they currently hold is disproportionate to the level of support they have in wider society.

We have suggested a range of practical measures including licensing of march stewards and asking organisers and performers to sign a public order declaration aimed at ensuring that effective checks and balances are in place.

We are also calling for wider engagement with host communities particularly in terms of organisers meeting with them at the earliest possible opportunity in the application process. Communities must feel involved in this process.’