Matt Frei 10am - 1pm
Police warn of 'many more' arrests after Rangers celebrations descended into chaos
15 May 2021, 12:54 | Updated: 16 May 2021, 13:23
Glasgow police have warned "many more arrests will follow" after a large gathering of Rangers supporters descended into violent chaos.
Thousands of Rangers fans took to the streets in celebration of the club's first Scottish Premiership trophy in a decade, with many marching from Ibrox to George Square despite warnings against large gatherings due to coronavirus.
After supporters celebrated in the square for hours on Saturday - singing, dancing and setting off fireworks - Police Scotland officers formed a line and cleared the group from the area just after 9pm.
Footage on social media showed packs of flag-draped fans attacking each other, and launching traffic cones, plastic bollards and other missiles at lines of riot gear-clad police officers.
At least three officers were injured and more than 20 people have been arrested so far.
However, Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr warned "many more arrests will follow in the coming weeks".
Unacceptable scenes in Glasgow yesterday. Violent thuggery is inexcusable, no matter who is involved. Many more arrests will follow in the coming weeks. Officers on the ground did a remarkable job, in difficult and trying circumstances. https://t.co/2nYX4Z4JsE— DCC Will Kerr (@DCCWillKerr) May 16, 2021
One man was hospitalised "missing half his hand" after a firework he was holding blew up, an A&E source told the PA News agency.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf called the gatherings in Glasgow "selfish and irresponsible behaviour" which put lives at risk.
On Sunday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: "To say I’m utterly disgusted by the Rangers fans who rampaged through the city would be an understatement."
Earlier on Saturday, Steven Gerrard's side defeated Aberdeen 4-0 at Ibrox before collecting the Scottish Premiership silverware.
Fans had been warned against gathering to celebrate due to rising Covid-19 cases in Glasgow.
However, supporters outside Ibrox were cheering and chanting as the Rangers players arrived for the 12.30pm kick-off.
Police Scotland had called on them to "disperse and take personal responsibility".
After the trophy was lifted, many fans made their way into the heart of Glasgow.
The Union Bears fan group had earlier announced plans to walk from the stadium to George Square.
On Friday night, scores of Rangers fans lighted red flares simultaneously along the River Clyde in the city as they marked the end of the season.
This is the key point - take personal responsibility.— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) May 15, 2021
While there is a significant Police presence at Ibrox and across City, this is ultimately about personal responsibility. If you have gathered you should disperse, particularly given yday's announcement about Covid in Glasgow. https://t.co/TOEUSbIzTo
In an earlier statement on Saturday, Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, the divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said: "We understand the importance of football in Glasgow, how it connects our communities and, is for many, a culture and a way of life.
"We are however still in the midst of a pandemic and under coronavirus restrictions people should not be gathering for any reason.
"The overarching aim of Police Scotland's operation today remains public safety.
"Throughout the day we have seen crowds gather and anti-social behaviour including the use of pyrotechnics and drinking in public.
"Our officers are dealing with such offences where possible and have made arrests."
He said a request for a fan procession to the city centre had been declined, but police later decided to escort large groups of supporters as they made their way to George Square in order to minimise disruption.
The chief superintendent added: "Given the largely peaceful nature of the crowd, it would not be proportionate for our resources to use a high level of force through public order policing to disperse those gathering.
"We have seen some disruption to traffic, but no long-lasting disruption to our communities."