An open letter written by Humza Yousaf MSP calling for Glasgow City Council to refuse permission for the Scottish Defence League (SDL) to hold a public procession through Glasgow’s streets has been signed by party leaders across the political spectrum, representatives from trade unions and faith groups in Scotland.
The Scottish Defence League, an offshoot of the English Defence League, have an application making its way through Glasgow City Council to march on February 25th.
Commenting, Humza Yousaf said:
“I am a firm believer in free speech – regardless of how unsavoury it may be. However, it is imperative freedom of speech is not at the expense of public safety. The SDL must not be given free rein on our streets to peddle their toxic hatred.
“It is perverse that the SDL application to march along our city will go through Nelson Mandela Place. We have seen previous defence league marches end in violence as mindless thugs go on the rampage against shopkeepers, businesses and innocent bystanders.
“Politicians, trade unions and faith groups have come together on a collective platform to vigorously oppose any march organised by the SDL through the streets of Glasgow. I am sure the City Council will see the strength of feeling opposing this procession of hatred and refuse the SDL application.’
Human rights lawyer and organiser of Scotland United Aamer Anwar said:
“Neo Nazis masquerading under the flag of Scotland are not welcome in our city. Once again Scotland is united in demanding that any march be refused by the Council. These violent racist thugs must never be allowed to incite hatred against any section of our communities.”
We the undersigned express our extreme concern at our streets being used for the peddling of hatred. We vigorously oppose giving the Scottish Defence League (SDL), or any of their offshoots, permission to hold a public procession through Glasgow.
We understand that an application has gone in to Glasgow City Council and that the SDL are in discussions with the police and the local authority. We urge all authorities to reject this application on the grounds of public safety and moral decency.
With previous SDL and EDL processions we have witnessed mindless thugs attack shopkeepers, business owners and taxi drivers. While we passionately defend freedom of speech – regardless of how unpleasant it may be – we do not believe vile, toxic hate should be given free rein in our streets.
Glasgow has a proud history of fighting fascism and tackling racism. We are proud of our multicultural diversity and as such we wish to send out a loud and clear message that racism is not welcome in our city.
We seek your assurances that these concerns will be taken on board and that any application for the Scottish Defence League to march in our city’s streets will be rejected.
- Humza Yousaf MSP (Glasgow)
- Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)
- Johann Lamont MSP Leader of Scottish Labour Party (Glasgow Pollok)
- Ruth Davidson MSP Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
- Patrick Harvie MSP Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party
- Aamer Anwar – Human Rights Lawyer
- Dave Watson UNISON Scottish Organiser
- Dave Moxham STUC Assistant Secretary
- Unite Scotland
- Reverend Iain Galloway Convener, Church and Society Council, the Church of Scotland
- Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
- Dr Salah Beltagui Muslim Council of Scotland
- Unite Against Fascism
- James Dornan MSP (Glasgow Cathcart)
- Bill Kidd MSP (Glasgow Anniesland)
- Sandra White MSP (Glasgow Kelvin)
- John Mason MSP (Glasgow Shettleston)
- Bob Doris MSP (Glasgow)
- Drew Smith MSP (Glasgow)
- Elaine Smith MSP (Coatbridge & Chryston)
- PCS Union
- Society of Radiographers
- FDA Union
- CWU Scotland Regional Committee