Police clear Rangers fans from Glasgow’s George Square after ‘rising disorder’

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Police have dispersed a large gathering of Rangers supporters from George Square in Glasgow due to “rising disorder”.

Thousands of Rangers fans took to the streets in celebration of the club’s first Scottish Premiership trophy in a decade, with many marching from Ibrox to George Square despite warnings against large gatherings due to coronavirus.

After supporters celebrated in the square for hours on Saturday – singing, dancing and setting off fireworks – Police Scotland officers formed a line and cleared the group from the area just after 9pm.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf called the gatherings in Glasgow “selfish and irresponsible behaviour” which put lives at risk.

Rangers v Aberdeen – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
A line of police moved in just after 9pm (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Police said they had been dealing with various incidents of anti-social behaviour and the use of pyrotechnics.

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland said: “Due to the rising level of disorder taking place, and the threat to public safety, in George Square in Glasgow this evening, Saturday, 15 May 2021, Police Scotland will make use of powers available to officers under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 to disperse those who have chosen to gather there.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, the senior police officer on the ground will give direct instructions to those gathered and anyone in George Square should leave immediately.”

Earlier on Saturday, Steven Gerrard’s side defeated Aberdeen 4-0 at Ibrox before collecting the Scottish Premiership silverware.

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Fans had been warned against gathering to celebrate due to rising Covid-19 cases in Glasgow.

However, supporters outside Ibrox were cheering and chanting as the Rangers players arrived for the 12.30pm kick-off.

Police Scotland had called on them to “disperse and take personal responsibility”.

Rangers fans
Hundreds of Rangers fans gathered outside Ibrox during the game (Robert Perry/PA)

After the trophy was lifted, many fans made their way into the heart of Glasgow.

The Union Bears fan group had earlier announced plans to walk from the stadium to George Square.

On Friday night, scores of Rangers fans lighted red flares simultaneously along the River Clyde in the city as they marked the end of the season.

Rangers v Aberdeen – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
After the match, many Rangers fans headed from Ibrox to George Square (Andrew Milligan/PA)

In an earlier statement on Saturday, chief superintendent Sutherland said: “We understand the importance of football in Glasgow, how it connects our communities and, is for many, a culture and a way of life.

“We are however still in the midst of a pandemic and under coronavirus restrictions people should not be gathering for any reason.

“The overarching aim of Police Scotland’s operation today remains public safety.

“Throughout the day we have seen crowds gather and anti-social behaviour including the use of pyrotechnics and drinking in public.

Rangers fans
The fans gathered despite being advised not to do so (Robert Perry/PA)

“Our officers are dealing with such offences where possible and have made arrests.”

He said a request for a fan procession to the city centre had been declined, but police later decided to escort large groups of supporters as they made their way to George Square in order to minimise disruption.

The chief superintendent added: “Given the largely peaceful nature of the crowd, it would not be proportionate for our resources to use a high level of force through public order policing to disperse those gathering.

“We have seen some disruption to traffic, but no long-lasting disruption to our communities.”

Responding to the gatherings on Saturday, the Justice Secretary said: “I understand the significance of this day for Rangers fans but I am extremely disappointed that supporters have once again ignored Covid regulations and chosen to gather in large numbers in Glasgow.”

Mr Yousaf added: “This selfish and irresponsible behaviour endangers the lives of others – supporters, the police on duty and the wider community.

“I want to thank the police for incredibly difficult job they are doing keeping our communities safe throughout the pandemic.

“We have already discussed this with Rangers and will liaise with Police Scotland and the football authorities to consider what further action can be taken.”

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