Politics

Sturgeon faces angry backlash as she threatens to close parks and beaches in Scotland

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The First Minister has said she would not rule the option out stressing that she would “keep everything as an option”. It comes after large crowds gathered in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow on Thursday night, where police were forced to clear the park and two people were arrested.


 

At the same time, All Under One Banner, which campaigns for Scottish independence, has announced plans to hold “socially distanced static demos” every month until it is safe to march.

But Nicola Sturgeon said: “While I understand, and I really, really do, people’s desire to enjoy the sunshine on the very few days a year we have any, please avoid crowded places.”

“This virus will take those opportunities if we give them to it, so we mustn’t provide them.

“I won’t rule out anything that we are advised may be required to stop the spread of this virus, because we’ve seen the damage the virus can do.

 

“But we’re not planning these things at the moment, because we hope – as has been the case for the last three months and more – that people will continue to do the right thing.

“This is not something we are going to get rid of in a fortnight and all be able to take our eye off the ball and drop our guard.

“We all have to stop it rising again and I can’t stress that enough.”

The First Minister also asked that people who spend time outside take their litter away with them or dispose of it responsibly.

She added: “Refuse collectors across the country are doing an incredible job and I do want to thank them today, but they simply should not be having to clean up after mass gatherings.”

She also urged pro-independence activists to not hold demonstrations amid concerns they will jeopardise the fight against the coronavirus.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments came ahead of more parts of Scotland opening up again on Monday June 29, when more workplaces, including factories, laboratories and warehouses, can open up again.

Outdoor play parks and sports courts will also open up on this date, along with shops that can be entered directly from the street.

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Protesters have also been warned they face arrest if they engage in “violence and thuggery” at demonstrations this weekend.

Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said police are aware of “a few” planned demonstrations and protests to take place on Saturday and Sunday.

He said Police Scotland respects people’s right to “freely and peacefully express their views”.

He added: “Recent disorder in George Square saw people hijacking a peaceful event with the intention of violence and thuggery.

“This remains completely and utterly unacceptable and we will not tolerate these scenes, including attacks both physical and verbal on the public and our officers.

“My message to those who have been involved in the disgraceful scenes witnessed over the last couple of weeks is that if you continue to behave like this then be prepared to be arrested.”

Latest figures show 18,213 people have tested positive for the virus across Scotland, up 17 from 18,196 on Thursday with no deaths recorded for the first time on a weekday since March.

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