Hundreds of people descended on George Square in Glasgow earlier today to call for the statue to stay in place after the Black Lives Matter movement called for it to be removed. It comes as the memorial, dedicated to the former Prime Minister, whose father had links to the slave trade, was spray painted with an anti-police message last Sunday during demonstrations.
A smaller unknown group, not associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding the removal of the statue was also at the protest today.
Police – with their batons drawn – were forced to form a line across the street after missiles were launched between the two groups of demonstrators.
Police were able to stop the two groups from clashing with those looking to see the statue removed were forced back up North Hanover Street.
Police Scotland confirmed the unknown group asking for the statue to be removed was not believed to be affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been protesting across the country in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Protests over the Sir Robert Peel statue in Glasgow.
Sir Robert Peel was a former British PM.
A police helicopter was also deployed and could be seen flying over the city centre.
Chief Superintendent Alan Murray from Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers were aware of a disturbance near George Square, Glasgow today.
“At this time the incident does not appear to be connected to a Black Lives Matter protest.
“Police will always facilitate peaceful protest where practical and safe to do so, but overall public safety of all those concerned is a key consideration.”
The protests took place earlier today.
The Glasgow Youth Art Collective had originally called on Black Lives Matter activists to descend on the same location to demand the removal of the statue and organised a protest for today.
The event was known as Peel Must Fall, with a post for the event stating: “As statues continue to fall daily around the world and the UK. Glasgow must not stay silent”.
The group insisted it was “TIME FOR PEEL TO FALL”
However, the event was postponed due to what organisers claim was a lack of access to the square and “police targeting activists”.
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It is claimed that Sir Robert’s father had links to slavery.
The Glasgow Youth Art Collective said on its Facebook page: “We attempted to have a peaceful protest today in city in the style of a public consultation for the people of Glasgow to decide what would be best to happen to the racist and anti-working class statues of George Square.
“Due to the police targeting activists before we were able to gather and no easy access to the square, we have decided to postpone today’s demo.”
Meanwhile, another group, The Loyalist Defence League called on followers to converge on George Square this weekend to protect the statue.
Elsewhere in Scotland, the words “racist king BLM” were sprayed in white paint on the plinth of the Robert the Bruce statue at the Battle of Bannockburn site in Stirling.
Police Scotland deployed a large number of officers to the protest.
On the wall of the A-listed rotunda nearby, the words “Robert was a racist” and “bring down the statue” have been scrawled.
Robert the Bruce was an early Scottish ruler and led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England in the 14th century.