Plans to set up protest zones at the Commonwealth Games have come under fire
Police Scotland want to corral protestors into pre-arranged sites during Glasgow 2014 in order to “facilitate protest”.
The Games, which start on 23 July, could be hit by protests over the decision to allow sponsorship from the Atos healthcare company, which has been accused of persecuting the poor and disabled over its involvement in benefit assessments.
There could also be protests by gay rights campaigners, and about human rights abuses by specific countries.
However, police plans to create protest zones have been compared to the actions of Russian president Vladimir Putin who created special areas for demonstrators at the Sochi Winter Olympics – sometimes several miles from where the events were taking place.
Our action will be within the law, but we will do what we want to do, not what the police tell us to do
A spokesperson for Glasgow Against Atos, which is planning demonstrations, said: “These protest sites are trying to ghettoise and neuter protests. They marginalise protestors to get them away from the Games, where they can’t be seen.”
The spokesperson said the group would not be constrained by any special restrictions, adding: “Our action will be within the law, but we will do what we want to do, not what the police tell us to do.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police Scotland will facilitate peaceful, lawful protests and various areas have been identified adjacent to venues where demonstrations or assemblies can take place.
“This ensures the legitimate right of protestors while ensuring minimum disruption to people living in the local area.
“This underlines the principle of the facilitation of peaceful protest whilst maximising public safety.
“All events will be policed appropriately. However, anyone involved in criminal activity can expect to be arrested.”