A march planned by a far-right group through the streets of Edinburgh has been rejected over fears for public safety.Source: Herald
Edinburgh City Council's licensing sub-committee turned down the application from the Scottish Defence League (SDL), which wanted to march on September 10. The council said the decision was taken unanimously.
Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC), said: "The STUC welcome the decision of the regulatory committee to reject the application by the Scottish Defence League to spread their hatred on the streets of Edinburgh. This sends out a clear message that racism and fascism has no place in Scotland's towns and cities."
Aamer Anwar, a human rights lawyer and organiser of Scotland United, said: "We welcome the council's decision to ban the SDL march. Neo-Nazis masquerading under the flag of Scotland will never be welcome in our capital city. As the only place in the UK that has successfully stopped these thugs marching through our streets, we repeat our message: you are not welcome in Scotland.
"I want to thank the thousands of decent minded people, the trade unions, 47 MSPs, the Scottish Government, the party leaders and the First Minister who backed Scotland United's objections to this march. Today is a good day for freedom and democracy and unity against racism."
Lothian and Borders Police had no formal objection to the application, but raised some concerns in light of "major unrest" across the country.
The proposed route would have taken an estimated 200 people along Regent Road and Waterloo Place to the Wellington monument at the end of Princes Street. The route passes the Scottish Government ministerial headquarters and is close to the US consulate.
A report to councillors who decided the application said that the police acknowledged there may be some disruption to city centre business. But the report also said that with sufficient planning in place, it should be possible to accommodate the SDL procession and any other "resultant demonstrations".
Councillors were given copies of objections, including one from the STUC which had concerns about the proximity of the march to the 10th anniversary of the terror attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
Committee convener councillor Rob Munn said: "The council holds dear the values of freedom of speech, of the right to assemble and march, and we would go to great lengths to protect those rights. We have taken great care to consider all of the issues raised by council officials, Lothian and Borders Police, the SDL and by objectors. Today's decision was wholly based on the information available to us regarding the potential impact on public safety, public order and possible disruption to the life of the community."