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Attack on priest during Orange Walk treated as hate crime

Canon Tom White was speaking to parishioners when he was spat on in Glasgow.

Church: Incident outside St Alphonsus.
Church: Incident outside St Alphonsus.

An incident where a priest was spat on outside a Catholic Church while an Orange Walk passed by is being treated as a hate crime.

Canon Tom White was speaking to parishioners outside St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow when he was spat on and verbally abused.

Police have now appealed for any witnesses to come forward to trace the person responsible for the "despicable and shameful attack".

Officers are looking for a man in his 20s with a shaven head following the incident, which took place around 5.15pm on Saturday.

'We remain committed to ridding our country of hate crime and the bigots within it who think they won't be held to account for their actions.'
Superintendent John McBride

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said White and his parishioners had been "subjected to vile abuse".

Police Scotland say they are investigating a report that a young man tried to hit the priest with a baton.

The force said there is nothing to indicate any involvement from parade members, but said it was "one line of inquiry".

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland condemned those responsible, saying they were not part of the parade.

Superintendent John McBride said: "We will not tolerate any form of hate crime and behaving in such a way is contemptible.

"I would like to assure everyone that those who choose to react in a sectarian or religiously motivated matter will be identified and dealt with under the law. I'm deeply shocked that some people think this is an acceptable way to act - it isn't.

"The public can be assured we remain committed to ridding our country of hate crime and the bigots within it who think they won't be held to account for their actions. I can tell you they will."

'Any small detail could prove vital to identifying whoever is responsible.'
Superintendent John McBride

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland added: "We understand that abusive comments were directed at a local priest from a group of young men who were not part of the parade.

"We can confirm that no members of the parade were involved in this or any of the reported incidents.

"The Orange Order is founded on the principle of religious liberty and respect for people of all faiths.

"We totally condemn the bigoted actions of those involved and hope that they are dealt with to the full extent of the law."

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