Glasgow Violence: When Media Bias Goes Too Far
On Thursday, 85% of the Scottish population turned out to cast their votes in the referendum on independence following days of peaceful demonstrations by Yes voters in the heart of our largest city, Glasgow.
On Friday, Glasgow was gripped by fear as pro-union fascists rushed George Square, determined to engage in violence and hatred; the loyalists of Glasgow joined by members of the Scottish and English Defence Leagues, and all partly encouraged by Britain First.
Young girls had their Scottish flags torn away from them, women with Yes badges were spat at and called scum, nazi salutes and red hand of Ulster salutes were seen, flares were thrown, and the sectarian edge was on full display with “No Surrender” signs. Assaults were made on those carrying Saltires.
These are not the scenes reported by the BBC news or a number of newspapers who assure us that this was a “clash” between Yes and No voters, following their portrayal of Yes voters as Scottish nationalist mobs who intimidated No voters, despite little evidence to the contrary.
In truth, the police had the events of last evening well in hand. Glasgow is no stranger to sectarian trouble (a number of this mob wore Rangers tops), quickly surrounding the group and acting to restrict violence as far as possible as they departed the square and moved elsewhere. Six arrests were made and after a few hours the city was calm once more.
But what there was a disturbing lack of was information. News. People in the city and those in the rest of Scotland with friends and family in Glasgow had no idea what was happening. Those on twitter could find no information on whether things had escalated or calmed down, on where was safe and where was not.
The police described the situation as “handbags”. They’ve dealt with much worse. But to write this off as sectarian violence alone excuses those fascists who travelled to take part. To write it off as only fascists excuses the local loyalists spoiling for a fight.
While the identity of the perpetrators is unknown, the one Scotland newspaper that supported independence – The Herald – had their generator set alight. The Sunday Herald is currently collecting evidence from the night to make a full report in their next edition.
Glasgow is a complicated city with a troubled past, but the level of political engagement across Scotland and within the city during this referendum was unprecedented. And almost entirely peaceful until now. Scotland had shown the world what democracy without war looks like, but while the UK media ignores the dark side of both Glasgow and the union, the international media has carried the most information on events.
That people in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK had to turn to twitter to get the real information of what was happening is incredible. And while photographs and videos were helpful in illustrating the events, there was no control on validity of information. #GlasgowRiots trended through the night despite the situation being over, while many seemed under the impression that it was Yes voters at fault.
Invoking the spirit of sectarianism there was no doubt trouble on both sides of that particular divide, but the swelling of ranks from fascist groups ensured that it was those bearing the Scottish flag or Yes badges that were in danger.
This was no celebration. This was no representation of No voters. These bigots represent no one but themselves. But the media turning a blind eye to this, or insinuating it is no worse than Scottish nationalists throwing an egg is irresponsible. I had friends hiding at home because they were terrified to go out on the streets without the safety of having white skin, with no idea of when the trouble was over.
There are Orange marches planned today in the city. Hopefully these idiots will stay at home. Please stay safe.
(Photo credits L-R: Jon Brady via Twitter @jonfaec; Cathal Mcnaughton / Reuters; PA; Reuters; Reuters; Herald’; Herald; Reuters; Reuters)
(My apologies that none of the media wants to embed)
Thiss is excellent information!!
A saltire was burned today. I’m still disgusted. People have been stabbed and beaten today. Nazi salutes were thrown infront of a war memorial today. Young people have had abuse hurled at them left and right. Do not ignore this. Do not ignore what’s happening in Glasgow tonight.
if you’re not gaelic or not residing in scotland it is your duty to make this blow up.
Honestly, don’t worry, even people in the UK don’t know what’s happening because we have shocking media censorship over here.
Okay, so for the last two years, Alex Salmond (now former first minister of Scotland) and the SNP and all the grassroots Yes campaigns, have been campaigning for the Independence of Scotland from the Union of Britain. Now this isn’t the first time this has happened, we had a referendum in the 70s, and it was swinging heavily towards a Yes vote for independence, but Margaret Thatcher and her cronies got their claws in and put in (now) illegal measures to ensure that didn’t happen. We got basic devolution powers later, which allowed us to form our own government with EXTREMELY limited powers. The Yes campaign did a brilliant job, but because the media in the UK is entirely right-wing biased, the fear mongering got to people and Independence was rejected 45-55. And while it’s not what I wanted, that is a very promising result, meaning people are getting more informed.
This is were it gets weird.
So the No (or pro-union) campaign won the referendum, but because the vote was counted by area they “lost” the vote in certain areas. One of these areas was Glasgow in which a majority voted to leave the Union. Glasgow has a long history of violence, but it has done VERY well recently in remaining peaceful, and the Yes campaign has never once acted violently in their campaigning so it seemed like the result of this referendum should be reacted to peacefully.
In George Square (largely regarded as the unofficial HQ for the Yes campaign) which is right next door to the single busiest shopping street in Glasgow, a few Yes campaigners were out there today protesting/campaigning peacefully.
The NO campaign has been constantly associated with notoriously violent groups. The Orange Order (A protestant extremist organisation, at their first rally they through a glass bottle at a twelve year old girl and have shoved and punched Yes voters) and the Rangers Football Club fans (incredibly religious and violent group).
During the peaceful Yes Protest in George Square, hundreds of Unionists carrying Union Jacks and singing “God Save the Queen” and Rangers football club songs marched towards them, shoving and harassing passing innocent Yes voters. The majority of them are middle aged men, and have been seen spitting at women wearing Yes badges and calling them Scum. The police arrived to form a barrier, which antagonized the Unionist, and they charged at the Yes protesters.
Usually I’m not the biggest fan of the police, but right now they are doing a top-notch job of at least not allowing this to break into a massacre. I have heard reports of Yes voters being stabbed, beaten up and attacked with hammers. Yes voters are being told not to wear their badges and to take their posters down to avoid harrassment and vandalism.
Here’s some eyewitness stuff
This is what Britain is.
I’m going to post this publicly, please reblog. To anyone in Glasgow tonight, please stay safe.
Dreich. Stirling, May 2014.
Laura & Damian - An Isle of Skye Elopement | Joanna Kitchener
It’s finally acceptable to ship cities.
These photos were taken 3 minutes apart.
Welcome to Scotland.
As someone walking around sunny Edinburgh yesterday having to dash to Starbucks minutes after to avoid catching a cold I can verify the 100% accuracy of this
Some pretty pictures I found from my trip to Scotland. Castle Eileen Donan.
Looking up Scottish mythological creatures and
Wulver: a werewolf in Shetland, that is said to have had the body of a man with a wolf’s head. It was reported to have left fish on the windowsills of poor families.
That is the nicest Werewolf legend I’ve ever heard of.
This is a Scottish anti-rape PSA that is a direct response to blaming a rape victim for dressing like a slut.
I remember seeing this on TV a while ago. Go Scotland!
In Glasgow there is a statue that is famous for always having a traffic cone on its head
And after the Olympics, throughout the UK certain post boxes were being painted gold in honour of the olympians, but in Glasgow someone decided to do this instead
I love it when vandals are charming
ive been staring at this picture for like 5 minutes idk how to process all of this
Awesome! Maybe one day even I will be able to understand.
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye- Western Scotland