[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Can Edinburgh cope with G8 events?
Bob Geldof announcing the Live 8 details

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure have called for people to descend on Edinburgh and take part in a massive protest against world poverty on 6 July to coincide with the start of the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

There's talk of a million people heading for the Scottish capital and all this coming four days after the Make Poverty History march there which organisers say may attract about 100,000 demonstrators.

The police are now worried about the impact of on resources. Ure, who says Scotland has a proud record of being "big-hearted", wants Edinburgh residents to open their doors, gardens and churches to give protesters hospitality.

Can Edinburgh cope with such a massive influx of people? Would you welcome the protesters into your home? Are you worried about the consequences for Edinburgh? These emails are a selection of those you sent us.

Geldof is trying his best to do whatever we can to help millions of people living in the most extreme poverty, and people here are whinging about car parking and council tax rises. It really makes one despair...
Phil Jones, Edinburgh

Why is everyone so worried about Edinburgh? Perthshire is the place that will suffer and already is at the hands of police and military preparing for the G8. Lives are being disrupted, but as usual people are more concerned about the cities.
Katy Gordon, Blackford

Iraq will be a safer place to spend the summer months.
Nick, Edinburgh

There was no violence to speak of at the anti-war protest in London, so there is no reason why there should be in Edinburgh. As to people who complain that everything will be clogged up and they won't be able to get to work - Big deal! Some things are a little bit more important. Take a chance to make a difference.
Tom, Leeds

Why have a concert in Edinburgh? Can the Organisers of T in the Park, practically on the doorstep of Gleneagles, get together with Bob to include Balado as part of his Live8 concerts.
Colin, Dundee

People are going to be crushed to death.
Chris Cooke, Edinburgh

I'm proud that my city will be on the world stage and fighting against poverty in Africa
Adam, Edinburgh

It might cause major disruption but who cares? I'm proud that my city will be on the world stage and fighting against poverty in Africa. I will definately be taking part!
Adam, Edinburgh

The protest is for the dignity of human lives and is a gargantuan cause. I believe that Edinburgh should embrace the protest. Over and above this, there should be protests all over Scotland and the UK to show the solidarity of the human race in a such a worthy cause. Lets face it - look at the numbers that marched against the War in Iraq!
Gayle Morton, Glasgow

Are we really going to take being lectured to about poverty from these kings and queens of excess!!!
Michael, Reading

Edinburgh is just too small to cope with 1 million demonstrators ALL trying to be in the city centre. The "city centre" is really only 3 streets, barely a mile long each. How many public toilets in the whole area? About two. ONE A&E department on the outskirts of the city that can't even cope with the ordinary residents let alone all the visitors. If a fire or a riot broke out in the centre with all those people there then I think it would be likely that hundreds would be injured in the crush as others tried to escape the danger. And it would probably take about 30 minutes to get to the hospital with all the people / traffic. An organised march with proper safety controls is one thing, but this idea is just too dangerous.
Ruth, Edinburgh

Yes, it'll be an inconvenience for us, but millions of people dying because of our indifference would be catastrophe. We must make our felings known publicly and peacefully. Bring my home city to a halt, and stand up for the right to have a decent life!
Brian West, Edinburgh

Edinburgh and Live8 will certainly attract plenty publicity - I just hope it's not for all the wrong reasons.
Dave Pickering, Edinburgh

Why Edinburgh? The conference is in Gleneagles (miles away).
Nigel Nuttall, Dundee (much nearer Gleneagles)

This is an important and historical moment for the city of Edinburgh. It should do everything it can to accommodate this protest.
Antony, Bristol

With our transport and roads half of them will still be in England when the march starts.
Gary Elliott, Edinburgh

How can a city with only one A&E department cope with 1,000,000 extra people?
David
Edinburgh

If London could cope with 2 million on the streets on 15 Feb, before the war on Iraq started, then Edinburgh can cope with 1 million. And for dreadlocked anarchists, I think not, If you have actually been on a demonstration against global issues like war or poverty, you will know that the majority are families, grannies, vicars and your general Joe Bloggs.
Fernando, London

Nice idea, lousy timing, and just too many people. Edinburgh Council plans for months in advance in order to deal with the Hogmanay crowds (and hardly anybody is trying to work on Hogmanay, anyway). What about us poor eejits trying to make a living? I strongly suspect I won't be able to get to work (how are the buses going to run through that many people?), therefore won't be paid for that day. You gonna cover my losses Bob?
Elizabeth Ewing, Edinburgh

Bob Geldof is a prime example of a has-been celebrity using fame that they have gained in the past to try and influence the public into supporting a cause that they know little or nothing about. What qualifies him to lecture us about the problems of the third world?
Sally, Edinburgh

How can a city with only one A&E department cope with 1,000,000 extra people?
David, Edinburgh

The root of the problem is in Africa so why doesn't Geldof go there and try and convince the various governments that he can help them with birth control, farming methods, aids control etc etc. How much support will he get from them?
David , Edinburgh

Oh please! Edinburgh can't even cope with traffic on a rainy day midweek. It goes into meltdown even on ordinary weekends. It's incapable of coping with an event of this nature.
RS, Glasgow

It will be interesting to see what happens. Will our sewage and water supply systems cope? Will there be enough beer? We shall see! Maybe the protestors will take the event to some benighted dictatorship in Africa next year. Now that would really be something to test how many are children out for a lark, or adults out to change regimes.
Jason, Edinburgh

Silly Bob Geldof, you have no right to endanger peoples lives
Derek
Edinburgh

At the end of the last century when Hogmanay reveller numbers broke the 300,000 mark, the streets of Edinburgh were filled to crushing capacity. For the safety of participants the council, at the request of the emergency services, made it a ticket only event. 1,000,000 people will simply not fit into the heart of Edinburgh, people are going to die.
Mark, Edinburgh

I'm amazed by the number of negative comments. The people of Scotland have an opportunity to MAKE this happen. Stand up and be proud that you can make a difference.
Chris, Sydney/Edinburgh

Much as I welcome the right to protest, If (or should I say when?!) something goes wrong there is a real danger that a lot of people may die in an unstoppable panic. It could be a be a terrible tragic day. Silly Bob Geldof, you have no right to endanger peoples lives.
Derek, Edinburgh

Part of the G8 protest is concerned with stopping global warming. How will (to directly quote Bob) "fleets of cars, planes, trains, ferries & private boats" help stop pollution? I wonder how much money that could be spent combating poverty in Africa will instead be spent repairing the windows of every McDonalds, GAP & Starbucks in Edinburgh. This whole event seems hypocritical & counter-productive.
Peter, Nottingham

How can any human not be moved by the humanity of the cause?
Stevo, Glasgow, Scotland

Why are they targetting Edinburgh when the leaders will be in Gleneagles? Is it simply that there are more things to smash up in Edinburgh?
A.B., Edinburgh, Scotland

Wake up Geldof - are you really prepared to take responsibility for the damage and injury that this will cause?
Ben Wilson, London (formerly of Edinburgh)

Why can we not be sensible about it though and split the burden between Glasgow and Edinburgh
Dr Allan R Mackintosh
Glasgow

As an Edinburgh resident, I am extremely excited and in much anticipation about the G8 week and events being held in Edinburgh at that time. Not only is it a chance to take part in fun events designed to be enjoyed by all familiy members, but it is a chance to send an important message to the G8 - we will no longer tolerate policies based on a neo-liberal economic agenda which is biased and geared towards opressing the poor nations of the world.
Jillian Reilly, Edinburgh

It appears that most of the support for this comes from people who are NOT in Edinburgh and most of the fears come from the Edinburgh residents. Is this not a typical example of N.I.M.B.Y. I bet that Bob and Midge are not on the streets getting crushed by the crowds or sitting in traffic jams, and no doubt the police will come in for the usual harrasment, despite all the protestors being "peacefull innocent bystanders". Why cant they have a G8 summit in the middle of the atlantic on some un-inhabited island. Same reason as Bob the nob wants all the protestors to come to Edinburgh, it wont affect him and he won't be there.
Ed , Perth

Open our doors to a bunch of dreadlocked anarachists? Sure. We'll fleece anybody, and we're good at it. But leave your minivans at home because you won't be able to park them anywhere.
Steve B, Edinburgh, Scotland

Bob can stay at mine if he likes, so long as he doesn't mind giving me the keys to his place. Or better still, maybe Midge could lay on transport to his pad in the Caribbean - funny how he no longer lives in Scotland? I'm sure his conscience is clear though?
Adrian, Edinburgh

To compare the number of people who go to Edinburgh during the entire month of August for the festival's with a similar number of people over a few day's and then say Edinburgh can cope is silly. It seems that the BBC is the only medium for locals to have their say on this issue. Neither Bob Geldof or the G8 organisers or the make Poverty History have even bothered to ask the good people of Edinburgh and Scotland if they want this big show in their town. I doubt it would win a popular vote!
Keith, Troon

Why can we not be sensible about it though and split the burden between Glasgow and Edinburgh, between the two we could manage and I think it would give the police a chance and lessen the chance of trouble which would ultimately detract from the message.
Dr Allan R Mackintosh, Glasgow

I don't see how terrorising half a million people in Scotland will help all the starving people in Africa
Janet
Edinburgh

Edinburgh can cope with this but the police, hospitals and other emergency services could not. This has all the makings for a disaster waiting to happen.
Duggie

I don't see how terrorising half a million people in Scotland will help all the starving people in Africa. I am all for another Live Aid, but this is not a solution.
Janet, Edinburgh

I had been planning to take part in a peaceful Make Poverty History protest in Edinburgh but I now fear that it will descend into chaos and that there will be trouble as there was in Genoa and Evian. I don't want to be part of the fringe element and I won't attending now out of fear.
A, Glasgow

Crazy idea. Edinburgh is busy enough in July, without a bunch of fresh protestors turning up. Go to Africa, or, better yet, just give the money you're spending on coming to Edinburgh to the charities that can do useful things there...
Matthew, Scottish Borders

Better that the rabble head for Edinburgh than here.
Tom, Near Gleneagles, Scotland

We can cope if everyone does their bit. Edinburgh will be seen all over the world as leading the way forward to a poverty Free Africa. Not to mention all the free publicity for the city and Scotland.
Stuart, Midlothian

You can't help but think Geldof now uses live aid to boost his own status. This has been done before. Why not do something different, hands on and direct? Even Geldof said himself "over my dead body" so why the turnaround? We know he has done a lot for good in the past but lets not hope the repeat concerts are as bad as the repeat of the single
Stephen, Hamilton
I reckon Edinburgh will cope as the city is use to large numbers of people especially at hogmanay
Natalie Thomson
Inverness

If the million people stayed at home and each donated 100 instead, an awful lot of poor people could benefit. Hopefully it will now also be possible to directly sue Geldof for damage, injury or death during the event.
John, Edinburgh

I think it's fantastic what Bob Geldof is planning. I reckon Edinburgh will cope as the city is use to large numbers of people especially at hogmanay. In order for it to be a success and not chaos, locals and visitors to the event should respect each other and work together for the cause. If you're planning to cause trouble - stay at home!
Natalie Thomson, Inverness

Much as I support the cause, Bob Geldof will have a lot to answer for if a million over-excited people crowd into Edinburgh at the height of the tourist season and some of them get injured in the crush.
Carol, Edinburgh

It's the equivalent of 17,000,000 extra people descending on London; so go figure. An irresponsible egomaniac.
Stephen, Edinburgh

I have real concerns about this. The railing lined, steep, narrow streets of the old town can just about cope with around 150,000 at new year when access is strictly controlled. Encouraging everyone just to descend on the city and walk the planned route is irresponsible in the extreme. Even accounting for a totally peaceful day, people are going to be unable to enter the old town simply because it will be full. How will people react to this when they can't protest as planned through nobody's fault? Bob's admitted disregard for the logistics of this, just blindly hoping that the city will be able to cope and that everyone will just be fine at this "party" is frightening.
Doug, Edinburgh

This is a challenge for us to stand up and be counted
Alec
Edinburgh

Bob has not aged well. He should have asked Elton to donate his weekly flower bill to the Third World cause. That would help a lot more than clogging up an already over populated small town in Scotland.
Stuart, Edinburgh

Would Sir Bob like it in his back garden? I think not though he could probably afford the inevitable council tax hike next year, when we the locals have to pay for it all!
Peter, Edinburgh

The police are supposed to be there to aid the public, not obstruct them. Who pays for these self appointed arbiters of what is in the public's interest? You and me, the taxpayers and it is time the police realised they are there to serve us and not their political masters.
John Sinclair, Dundee

Of course we can cope. This is a challenge for us to stand up and be counted. If we can't do this, then all our sympathetic mouthings are sheer hypocrisy
Alec, Edinburgh, Scotland

It could be fun, but I'm going to head for the hills over that weekend. Edinburgh during festival season in August can get quite oppressive, and higher numbers are predicted for this event. To those that come, have fun, but remember that Edinburgh is an expensive place to eat, drink or sleep.
Eddie, Edinburgh

No Edinburgh certainly can't cope with this kind of influx. The city's transport infrastructure is a bad joke the roads all in and around the city will grind to a halt. But that's just tough. It's all worth it for this cause.
Martin McDonald, Glasgow, UK

I think Sir Geldof's request only goes to highlight his almost fairytale detachment from the real world. Yes most people agree that working on world poverty is a deserving and just cause, but to ask people to descend on a city that contains ancient and historic buildings right where they will be is stupid. I hope any destruction or vandalism will be billed directly to Sir Geldof in Narnia!
Neil, Edinburgh

Of course the city will grind to a halt - that's the whole point
John
Dunfermline

I think this is extremely worrying that at least a million protesters are about to descend on Edinburgh. The Council have struggled to control Hogmanay numbers in the past, so I'm not quite sure how they would cope with something on this scale! I was just about crushed one year at Hogmanay before the numbers were restricted, thankfully a policeman saw my distress and helped me out of the crowds. I think there should be restrictions on numbers as there is at Hogmanay.
Moira, Edinburgh

Bob has the right idea but the wrong compass. If he wants to end poverty in Africa then he should be inviting a million concerned individuals to buy as much guns and ammunition as they can carry and march, not north to Edinburgh, but south to Harare. As an added bonus they could liberate any number of African countries from their homicidal kleptocrats on the way. That'd certainly raise awareness.
John, Dunfermline

Of course the city will grind to a halt! That's the whole point. The entire world will be focusing on Edinburgh that day and we can send a clear message to them. Think of the iconic images of the million man civil rights marches on Washington in the '60s. Wouldn't it make you proud to be in Edinburgh on a similarly historic day? What would you think of anybody complaining about inconvenient congestion then? There is real potential to make the entire world a better place now and we can be at the crucible of historic change. Be part of something and support it wholeheartedly for goodness sake!!
Ross, Edinburgh

I believe Bob Geldof's planned Concerts are an excellent idea and will do a great deal to draw attention to the plight of Africa. However I think, somehow, we must ask him to reconsider his idea that people from Britain and all over the world should then make their way to Gleneagles and Edinburgh. If, as he says, he wants one million people to move into Scotland, I believe that there will be such chaos that, in the end, Bob's Make Poverty History campaign will become extremely unpopular and will have little or no influence upon the G8 politicians assembling at Gleneagles. Scotland simply cannot cope with a sudden influx of a million people and there are serious public safety concerns. Where will all these people find shelter if the weather is foul? How will they all be fed and watered? The limited number of hotels and restaurants on the way North cannot cope and Edinburgh would be overwhelmed with such an influx. There must be serious concern for farmers astride the main routes into Scotland, for no doubt marchers will invade fields looking for campsites etc. In these circumstances a lot of damage is often caused by people looking for wood to start fires etc. Stick to the concerts Bob Geldof and abandon the idea of the million marchers.
C.B.Innes,

I think that Geldof's exhortation to 'descend' on Edinburgh is recklessly irresponsible and potentially dangerous for residents and visitors to the City. Will he take personal and financial responsibility for the extra policing, disruption (and likely potential damage) to normal businesses and, god forbid, resulting casualties or worse? Who does he and, for that matter, Midge Ure think they are? Live Aid worked first time as a spontaneous response to an obvious need. Geldof's 'zeal' and Midge Ure's patronising "big-hearted" rhetoric will, I predict, end up doing a great harm to this city.
Dr Steve Ewing, Edinburgh, Scotland

Protestors welcome - Geldof not! We have enough self-seeking egomaniacs of our own
Bob
Edinburgh

You are forgetting that other campaigns and groups have been planning on coming to Edinburgh to protest against Bush, the war and for human rights. Are they going to form an orderly queue and wait their turn to have their say? Perhaps a timetabled itinerary projected onto large Edinburgh landmarks will keep the impatient in check. Of course not. This will be disorganised chaos. With so many passionate (and, scarily, some extreme) voices wanting to be heard, echoes of Geneva and Genoa are becoming a real threat.
Stephen R, Edinburgh

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure should be putting pressure on Edinburgh Council to provide suitable accommodation and facilities for those coming to Edinburgh for the Make Poverty History demo AND for the various G8 Alternatives events. Open the school halls, the Church halls, the community/sports centres, the university residences and lets put on an event that will be remembered as a catalyst for change! Another World Is Possible.
Donald Smith, Edinburgh

We will be proud to welcome and join those seeking to encourage the G8 to make a difference. It' s ONE day that may change the world - if we can do hogmanay we can welcome with open arms those who want to make their voice heard.
Kirsty McCullough, Edinburgh

The city has difficulty coping on a normal Sunday when thousands of shoppers come in because the parking restrictions are lifted. This is going to be a nightmare.
Ian Croy, Edinburgh, UK

Much as I support Sir Bob's cause, and feel Edinburgh will do everything we can to accommodate this, it is going to be chaos. For a city with a population of around half a million to accommodate possibly 1.25 million visitors that week (it should be remembered that we have a huge tourist influx at this time of year as well) is going to be difficult to say the least. I think the city will grind to a halt to be honest.
Ian, Edinburgh

Bob Geldof should have asked the people of Edinburgh before he asked 1,000,000 people to stay in our city. I was on Princes Street with 300,000 others one Hogmanay and it was chaos - people nearly died and the event is now restricted to about 125,000 people. Edinburgh could not cope with that many people and as for putting up a protestor in my home - as if! Would Bob put me up in his home?
Ian, Edinburgh

We can cope with the numbers. The city is used to large influxes of visitors, and we have a very capable police force with good crowd-control experience. But the important thing is persuading the G8 to act. There's a danger, in calling this a 'party' or in focusing on how many people are coming, that we obscure the issue that needs to be at the heart of it - making poverty history.
Duncan Hothersall, Edinburgh

I'm sure the city will be fine for the actual demo, but where will they all sleep, and why aren't they being directed to Gleneagles where the summit is? I'll open my garden starting at 50 a pitch.
Simon Smith, Edinburgh

Protestors welcome - Geldof not! We have enough self-seeking egomaniacs of our own. Why doesn't he go and work in some of the deprived areas and share his wealth and their misery?
Bob, Edinburgh

Why not organise the concert and the big protest in a city where the police resources aren't already utilised by the G8? Say Manchester? It would be just as much in the public eye as Edinburgh. This is just another stupid tactic by an obsessed, attention seeking man that will turn people against his cause.
D M Bollard, Kinross, UK

During the Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh becomes a haven for hundreds of thousands from across the world, but certainly not on this scale. I think I'll go away for the weekend!
Nicola, Edinburgh

Aye, nae bother. Bring it on!
John, Edinburgh





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific