ANTI-RACISM charities have strongly criticised group of over 100 fans for marching through the city centre singing what is judges have rules is a racist song.
Rangers fans have been blamed as a group mainly dressed in black marched through Argyle Street and near Glasgow Central station were videoed singing The Famine Is Over.
Officers from Police Scotland have now launched an investigation into the march, a video of which was posted before the crunch match between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday.
The song is sung to the tune of The John B. Sails, a folk song popularised by the Beach sung as Sloop John B.
The song’s title refers to Ireland’s Great Famine of the 1840s and suggests “the famine is over” so “why don’t you go home”.
Show Racism The Red Card andhas taken to social media to condemn the “racist anti-Irish march” on Sunday – the day Rangers beat Celtic 1-0 in the Old Firm derby.
Rangers has repeatedly asked fans to not to sing the song, which refers to the famine that killed an estimated one million people in Ireland in the 1840s.
Appeal judges in 2009 ruled that the controversial Famine Song that has been sung by Rangers fans is racist.
The Justiciary Appeal Court upheld a conviction against William Walls over his conduct at a Rangers away match against Kilmarnock in 2008.
The 20-year-old’s defence counsel, Donald Findlay QC, had argued the song was free speech.
But Lord Carloway said the lyrics called on people to leave Scotland because of their racial origins.
Show Racisim The Red Card said: “Our charity stands in solidarity with Scotland’s Irish and Catholic communities targeted by hate yesterday. Chants of ‘why don’t you go home’ are racist.
“Anti-Irish and anti-Catholic hatred in all its forms must be challenged and treated with the seriousness it deserves.”
The charity added: “Religious intolerance and xenophobia must never be accepted as a fact of life by any community or any person in Scotland.
“Educating the future generation to recognise and safely challenge such hate is crucial.
“Rather than words, communities and charities need more support.”
They also commended the public for recording the march on Sunday – and tweeted the video – and urged all to report to Police Scotland.
Nil By Mouth director David Scott said: “This was no display of passion for a football team or celebration of culture but a display of hatred and ignorance.
“It is the language and attitude of the sewer and the fans involved make a mockery of their multi-cultural team — one of whom was racially abused on the pitch last season — with this sort of bigotry.
“I hope Police can use CCTV footage and social media posts to identify as many of the culprits as possible and share this info with the club so they are banned from the stadium.
“Actions must have consequences.”
They also came under fire from former justice secretary and current health secretary Humza Yousaf.
He said: “For those hurling racist abuse at our Irish community telling them to “go home” – Scotland is their home.
“Disgusted to once again see anti-Irish racism rear its ugly head. Solidarity with our Irish community. I am sure Police Scot will hold those responsible to account.
And human rights lawyer AamerAnwar said: “Why is @policescotlan facilitating (again) a racist anti-Irish march, no kettling or arrests?
“If they replaced Irish with Pakistani/Muslims, police would act, so why not now? Irish famine killed 1 million (Protestants too!) ended in 1852, It’s now 2021. See-no-evil.”
Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney said: “The 2009 judgement of Lord Carloway in the case of William Walls v. the Procurator Fiscal is very clear. The Famine Song is racist. Police Scotland should identify and charge those singing it in a public place with breach of the peace aggravated by racial and religious prejudice.”
Celtic was established by Irish immigrants in Glasgow in 1887 and it has a strong irish supporter base.
The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers, Scottish football’s two most successful clubs, is long-standing and acrimonious. Many Celtic supporters are well known for their Irish Nationalist and Republican sympathies, occasionally launching into pro-IRA songs or chants during matches.
And some with Rangers sympathies have hit back at the criticism.
It’s a pity that all those outraged over this Famine Song are nowhere to be seen when there is blatant anti-English racism, including from SNP politicians and members, let alone anywhere when the Celtic fans have terrorist-supporting banners and pro-IRA songs. https://t.co/wuuryzXJWa
— freedfromthestyyeah (@freedfromthest1) August 30, 2021
Everyone will recall when @HumzaYousaf criticised those screaming sectarian abuse during various Remembrance Sunday silences, or when fans hung effigies of rival supporters at a football stadium or when pro IRA songs are sung routinely at Celtic away games. Right?? 🤔
— Jambo Smithy (@JamboAldo) August 30, 2021
In the William Walls appeal case, it was argued by his QC Donald Findlay that a football match was “an organised breach of the peace” and for many supporters “an exchange of pleasantries in the form of abuse is part and parcel of going to the game”.
He also argued that the Famine Song – which contains the chorus “the famine is over, why don’t you go home” – was not racist, but an expression of political opinion permitted under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But Lord Carloway, who heard the appeal with temporary judges Alastair Dunlop QC and Brian Lockhart QC, said: “Presence inside a football stadium does not give a spectator a free hand to behave as he pleases. There are limits and the appellant’s conduct went well beyond those limits.”
Referring to the Famine Song, the senior judge said: “The court does not consider that the lyrics of this refrain bear any reasonable comparison to those of ‘Flower of Scotland’ or indeed ‘God Save the Queen’.
“Rather they are racist in calling upon people native to Scotland to leave the country because of their racial origins. This is a sentiment which… many persons will find offensive.”
Lord Carloway added that the appeal judges had no difficulty in accepting the sheriff’s conclusion that singing the song’s chorus “displays malice and ill-will towards people of Irish descent living in Scotland”.