Key routes closed as Orange Walks take place in Glasgow

Updated: 

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Glasgow for the annual Orange Walks.

The official participants - estimated by police before the event to be around 4,500 people in 63 bands - paraded through the city centre on Saturday as thousands of spectators looked on.

The main County Grand Orange Order parade began at George Square and followed a route taking in St Vincent Street, Blythswood Square, Nelson Mandela Place, George Street, High Street and Saltmarket.

The marchers were bound for Glasgow Green, where an afternoon rally is being held.

Earlier, a number of smaller "feeder" marches took place in various districts of the city, before participants assembled for the main parade.

Police had warned of the possibility of considerable traffic disruption in and around the city with a number of key thoroughfares closed off for the march.

A number of side roads leading to the parade route were also shut.

Speaking ahead of the event, Police Scotland Superintendent Alan Murray, the officer in charge of policing the event, said public safety was his priority.

He said: "As everyone should be aware by now, drinking alcohol in the street or in any public place is illegal and officers will be ensuring that people comply with this legislation.

"Previous experience shows that it is the unwelcome minority who use the event to drink too much and cause offence. However, be assured we will not tolerate and sectarian or antisocial behaviour."

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said the parade comes after more than 4,000 Orangemen from Edinburgh and the east of Scotland recently rallied at Prestonpans in an "entirely trouble-free" event viewed by hundreds of spectators.