Glasgow 2014: Thousands opposed to Games tower block explosions

Red Road flats The 30-storey Red Road flats were built in Glasgow between 1964 and 1969

More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition opposing plans to demolish Glasgow tower blocks as part of the city's Commonwealth Games.

Five of the six remaining Red Road blocks of flats will be blown up on 23 July as part of the opening ceremony.

The footage will be beamed live into the Glasgow 2014 event at Celtic Park.

Some opponents believe the plans are insensitive to former residents and asylum seekers currently living in the sixth block.

This block, in Petershill Court, is due to be demolished at a later date.

The Glasgow 2014 organisers believe the demolition of the derelict 1960s flats will show how Glasgow is changing for the better while celebrating the role the flats have played in the lives of thousands of city families.

So far, about 4,280 people have signed an online petition lodged by former Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie.

Glasgow 2014: Five Red Road flats will be demolished live during the opening ceremony, as James Cook reports

The petition, addressed to Sports Minister Shona Robison and Glasgow City Council, says: "Stop the plan to demolish Red Road flats as part of Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

"The homes and communities of families should be demolished with dignity. If the flats are not fit for 'human' habitation, the message to the residents (asylum seeking families) in the remaining block is that they are not human enough to deserve decent housing."

When the 30-storey flats were built between 1964 and 1969, they had central heating and indoor bathrooms and were welcomed as modern accommodation for 4,700 people in the north east of Glasgow.

After decades of decline the estate became associated with anti-social behaviour and crime.

'Changing face'

Two of the blocks owned by the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) have already been demolished.

GHA says bringing five down at one time will minimise the number of times residents have to be evacuated to allow for the work by demolition specialists who will be using 1,250kg (more than a ton) of explosives.

Almost 900 people living near the site will have to leave their homes and have been invited to join in the Games opening celebrations at local venues.

The event will be shown live on a 100m (328ft) wide screen at the Celtic Park ceremony and to a huge TV audience.

City council leader Gordon Matheson, who has written to each affected household, said last week: "Their (the blocks') demolition will all but mark the end of high-rise living in the area and is symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Glasgow 2014 are responsible for the content of the opening and closing ceremonies. Through the Glasgow 2014 strategic group meetings, ministers have been informed of plans and proposals for ceremonies."

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