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Police use ‘kettling’ tactics on ‘confrontational and aggressive’ Celtic fans

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Pic by @krys1888

Pic by @krys1888

Strathclyde Police deployed around 200 officers, including mounted officers, to deal with what they called an ‘illegal street procession’ which became ‘increasingly confrontational and aggressive’, subsequently 13 arrests were made for alleged public order offences.

A group of Celtic fans, outside the Chrystal Bell pub in the Gallowgate, were allegedly attempting to march on Celtic Park while protesting against what they saw as ‘oppressive police tactics’. Ironically the protesters were then subject to Police tactics used specifically to deal with riots and other large-scale disturbances, called kettling.

Pic: Jas Cam

Pic: Jas Cam

Kettling involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who contain ‘protestors’ within a limited area. The ‘protestors’ are left with only one exit – the path determined by the Police – or blocked from departing the area altogether. However, the tactic is somewhat controversial, as those detained within its cordon are not necessarily always the targeted by the Police but ordinary members of the public also. However, the tactic is legal and was ruled lawful by the European Court of Human Rights following several legal challenges.

Scotzine spoke to Strathclyde Police about the incident, a Police spokesperson said: “At around 1pm, police were called to reports of a large number of people gathering outside the Chrystal Bell pub at Gallowgate, Glasgow. The crowd, many of whom were wearing similar hooded tops and using scarfs to hide their identities, appeared to be attempting to stage an illegal street procession and officers were deployed to prevent this.

Pic: Jas Cam

Pic: Jas Cam

“The crowd were instructed that any procession on the road was illegal but that officers would facilitate a safe and orderly procession on the pavements toward their intended destination at Celtic Park. However, this was ignored and more officers were deployed as the crowd became increasingly confrontational and aggressive. The situation was contained a short time later.”

However, the Celtic Trust have hit out at the Police handling, in a tweet posted on their official account, they said: “Shocking scenes today – the fact that we predicted this as a result of the [Offensive Behaviour] Act is no comfort. Women with weans penned in – truncheons drawn!”

Ordinary Celtic fans in attendance have also hit out at the tactics used by the Police, one bystander wishing to remain nameless commented: “The Police were intent on causing problems from the minute they turned up. Till then it was peaceful.”

George Ryan, Labour councillor for Shettleston ward, commented on his twitter page: “Spoken to a couple of young lassies at Celtic Park, injured today by the Police in Glasgow, Police State Mr Salmond. The Green Brigade are here despite the best efforts of Mr Salmonds bully boys.”

The Police spokesperson added: “13 people have been arrested so far today in connection with alleged public order offences, and they are currently being processed. Police enquiries are continuing into the incident and officers will be studying CCTV and helicopter footage to gather further information.”

If you were in attendance and have any video footage or photos of the incident please send them to editor@scotzine.com

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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