British nationalists riot in Glasgow after Scotland’s independence vote

The gathering began as a show of British national pride, but it took a turn for the worse. 

Mar 1, 2020, 9:00 pm*



Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

One day after Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom, British nationalists have taken to the streets of Glasgow to celebrate their victory.

The gathering began as a show of British national pride, but it quickly developed into what many witnesses are describing as a riot.

Protesters carrying U.K. flags and banners associated with the pro-Union Protestant Orange Order had to be separated from Scottish independence campaigners by Glasgow police.

Glasgow has long been divided by sectarian tensions between Protestant and Catholic groups, with the Protestant Orange Order coming out strongly in favor of voting against independence.

As in Ireland, the Orange Order regularly organizes parades and marches as a public show of community pride. An Orange march of around 15,000 people took place in Edinburgh the week before the referendum, with members traveling from around the U.K. to protest against Scottish independence. 

At the pro-Union demonstration celebrating their referendum victory, Orange Order members and other Unionists sang the British national anthem and reportedly let off flares in Glasgow’s George Square. 

Local religious tensions also tie into Glasgow’s soccer rivalries. Some of the pro-Union demonstrators in George Square carried banners for Rangers Football Club, the team predominantly supported by Protestant fans.

As many frustrated Glaswegians pointed out on social media, sports rivalries have nothing to do with politics—and many Rangers fans actually voted in favor of Scottish independence.

One Vine video from George Square shows a young woman with a Scottish flag being dragged on the ground by a man holding a British Union flag.

Some photos being shared on Twitter also seem to show pro-Union demonstrators performing the Nazi salute.

Several of the George Square demonstrators were members of the far-right Scottish Defence League, which is widely perceived to be a neo-Nazi organization. However, many Scots following the protest on social media were quick to point out that this is hardly representative of the average “no” voter.

One eyewitness described police trying to rescue people holding Scottish flags from some of the U.K. nationalists in George Square.

Prior to the referendum on Thursday, many U.K. news outlets expressed concern about the possibility of rioting or violence from those who voted for independence. One source from the anti-independence Better Together campaign even predicted “absolute carnage” on referendum day.

However, it looks like the main source of trouble in Glasgow is coming the opposing side: British nationalists celebrating Scotland’s decision to stay in the Union.

Photo via j_faulkner/Twitter

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*First Published: Sep 19, 2014, 7:27 pm