The Irish Republican flute band at the centre of chaotic scenes with loyalist protestors in Govan on Friday night have spoken out for the first time.

We’ve previously told how hundreds of officers, including riot cops, aerial response and mounted units, were deployed as riot-like scenes erupted as loyalist protestors disrupted an Irish Unity march by the James Connolly Republican Flute Band.

Two men were arrested, charged and released on bail following the incident and are due to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on October 1.

Now, the flute band have released a statement following the events on Govan Road and Elder Park.

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They claim that “at no point did any band member or person who was supporting the march come into contact with the Loyalist protestors. At no point did either side clash.

“The only sides that clashes were the police and the then rioting protestors.”

The band say they were kept within Elder Park for around an hour while the loyalists rioted, putting local resident’s “in a state of fear and alarm”.

Their statement claims: “There was theft of property from local resident’s gardens, items were taken and used to make missiles and barricades during the riot.

“Members of the public were injured, property damaged and business had to close early.

“A number of local pubs were targeted and vandalised”.

Evening Times: Riot police in Govan last Friday nightRiot police in Govan last Friday night

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The group also claims that a pregnant woman and a youngster was sat in her car outside a pub – which ended up completely trashed and “was shot at with a flare gun”.

The band later made off, flanked by riot cops, along its route after police had contained the rioters.

Their comments came ahead of two further Irish Republican marches this weekend.

The first march planned for Saturday is the Cairde na hEireann calton Republicans from Millroad Street in Calton to the La Pasionaria monument in Clyde Street leaving at 1.30pm.

The second march was organised by the Friends of Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association to take place from Blythswood Square at 3pm heading to Barrowland Park.

Citing reasons behind the riot-like scenes, the republican group believes that heightened tensions following an incident involving an Orange Walk outside St Alphonsus Church in London Road last year.

They say a subsequent social media post from a republican group, in which it allegedly claimed to be an IRA band named after an IRA volunteer, has been sensationalised by the media sparking further protests from loyalists.

Evening Times: Police are expecting similar protests this weekendPolice are expecting similar protests this weekend

Their statement continues: “The false claim that the IRA are marching on the streets of Glasgow has spurred on the protests (protests that never took place for similar marches in previous years) and have ultimately led to the Loyalist protestors rioting in Govan.

“We want to be clear. There is no justification of violent behaviour like the kind we saw. The IRA are a proscribed organisation. If the IRA were marching in Govan on Friday then believe it or not they would have been arrested on the spot.”

The flute band argued that they believe in free speech and the right to peaceful and lawful assembly.

They also called out Police Scotland.

They claim “the only people in the wrong here are Loyalist rioters. Police Scotland have contained them before. If they contained them sooner in Govan the situation wouldn’t have escalated.”