UK

Rival Scottish Independence Rallies Hit Glasgow As Police Look On

19/09/2014 20:06 BST | Updated 26/09/2014 15:59 BST

Police are holding back opposing crowds of pro and anti-independence supporters in George Square in Glasgow, amid reports of flag burning and mounting tensions in the city after the Scottish referendum result.

The confrontation follows Alex Salmond's announcement that he will quit as Scottish first minister after voters rejected Scottish independence.

Glasgow was one of just four local authorities which voted for independence from the UK, while the majority of Scotland - 55% of the population - voted for it to remain in the union.

Police closed the city centre to traffic on Friday evening as they separated the crowds, with some protesters reportedly holding flags and setting off flares.

An initial pro-union demonstration is reported to have led to a stand-off between hundreds of independence supporters and unionists, with some throwing objects including flares and firecrackers, according to the BBC whose reporter Cameron Buttle was on the ground.

glasgow trouble

Chanting in George Square in Glasgow

Union supporters waved Union Flags and both sides chanted slogans as they were held apart by two lines of police in high-res jackets. One side reportedly sang the national Scottish song Flower of Scotland, while the other sang Rule Britannia.

A police helicopter has been seen overhead and a police mounted division on horseback is at the side of the demonstration, according to Sky News, which said the police appeared to have the situation "under control" although it was "very tense".

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: "There has been some minor disorder which was quickly dealt with. No arrests have been made and the square has been closed to traffic."

Some Yes and No supporters online reacted with horror, saying that the demonstrations did not represent the official Yes Scotland or Better Together campaigns.

The leaders of the Scottish Labour and Conservative parties have spoken out in disappointment at the clashes. Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, told the BBC: "We don't want to be seeing scenes like that on our streets."

One tweeter at the scene said it was developing into an "ugly riotous stand off" while another said "Horrible atmosphere building in Glasgow city centre as hardline side of Union 'celebrates'".

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Additional reporting by Asa Bennett.