TENSIONS are high between protest groups taking part in a Stand up to Racism (SUTR) march in Glasgow.

The Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS) was founded in 2015 to support newly-formed Friends of Israel groups around Scotland. 

They say their purpose is to advocate peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But a petition, supported by Glasgow Fight Racism Fight Imperialism (FRFI) and Glasgow Palestine Human Rights campaign has been launched online, to prevent COFIS from attending tomorrow’s march.

They claim that the COFIS and Glasgow Friend’s of Israel are a racist organisation and petitioners will form a counter protest.

Their petition states: “The SUTR campaign, and its supporters are for a third year allowing racist organisations such as COFIS and Glasgow Friends of Israel to participate in their annual march through Glasgow.

“We call on all anti-racists to join us again in George Square this year to stand in active opposition to SUTR’s march with racists.”

Edward Sutherland, secretary and acting convener Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland, said they had been verbally abused by FRFI last year and are concerned the same thing will happen again.

He said: “About 35 of us took part in the protest last year but when we arrived members of other groups, whose faces were covered in masks, started chanting against us.

“We were surrounded by members of FRFI and Class War Scotland. We were pushed and several anti-Semitic chants were repeated.

“It was really frightening for our members and I am concerned that someone is going to get injured this year.

“Some of the groups are boycotting the march as they believe Israel is a racist state.

“But many people in CFOIS are particularly determined and won’t be driven out their city.”

Glasgow City Council is in the process of reviewing how demonstrations are carried out. It said police will be responsible for public safety on the day. 

Mr Sutherland continued: “I think the council should be asking for guarantees from the organiser that this event will be properly run. 

“Before permission was granted, questions should have been asked regarding last year’s incident.”

The march will start at 11am tomorrow from George Square.

Read more of today's top Glasgow stories.