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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
G8 protest 'should be peaceful'
Elton John, Midge Ure and Bob Geldof

Scotland's first minister has appealed for a "peaceful protest" in response to Bob Geldof's plans for a million person march on Edinburgh.

The Scottish Executive has noted his call for people to descend on the city for the start of the G8 summit in Gleneagles on 6 July.

The leader of Edinburgh Council Donald Anderson said any events must be "controlled and well organised".

Police said the organisers did not want a mass unorganised protest.

The call by Geldof and Midge Ure came up at the Scottish Cabinet's meeting on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson will now report back to colleagues on preparations to cope with the event, which will be the culmination of "The Long Walk to Justice" being planned by Live 8 organisers.

EDINBURGH'S VIEW
Thoughts on the streets of Geldof's rally cry

Geldof has urged people to take time off work and pupils to play truant from school to show their solidarity to leaders of the world's richest nations who meet at Gleneagles in Perthshire from 6-8 July.

Scottish schools will have broken up for the summer holidays by then but the teachers' union, the NASUWT, is urging pupils elsewhere in the UK to make their point online at the Make Poverty History website.

The founders of Live Aid announced a series of concerts around the world on 2 July, after which they want people to head for Edinburgh in time for an anti-poverty "party" four days later.

The protest plans were raised in the Scottish Parliament, where Conservative leader David McLetchie questioned the first minister.

I think it is absolutely critical that any demonstration is peaceful and respectful
Jack McConnell
First Minister

"We simply cannot have one million people turning up on the streets of Edinburgh without proper arrangements being made in advance," Mr McLetchie said.

Mr McConnell responded: "I believe our police and other agencies will be very well prepared for whatever happens in the first 10 days of July in Scotland."

But he went on: "I think it is absolutely critical that any demonstration is peaceful and respectful - not least of those in Africa who are currently starving or dying.

"They are the people it is meant to be all about."

He added that he wanted to see any organisers working closely with the authorities in Scotland.

Council officials, police and event organisers of are to meet on Thursday to discuss the logistics of the protests.

Edinburgh council leader Donald Anderson said: "It will be very difficult for us to cope with this, we all want to do what we can to save lives in Africa but none of us want to risk lives in Edinburgh.

Donald Anderson
It will be very difficult for us to cope with this
Donald Anderson
Edinburgh Council leader

"This needs to be a controlled protest, needs to be well organised and I am confident that is what Bob Geldof and the others will want.

"The sooner we can sit down and plan this the better."

He added: "The population of Edinburgh doubles during the festival here and we may be looking at something on a similar scale with this.

"But the festival is something that is planned for year in year out, accommodation is provided, people know where they are going and what to expect - this is going to be a very different kind of event.

"What I hope we can do is sit down with the organisers as quickly as possible and work out practical details about how to deal with that many people coming to Edinburgh and make sure this passes off smoothly and efficiently.

"This is going to be a huge challenge."

Talks continuing

Lothian and Borders assistant chief constable Ian Dickinson said on Wednesday he was sure that the Live 8 organisers were not calling for a mass unorganised protest.

"The Live 8 team fully understand the real risks involved in people just arriving and hoping there's somewhere to stay, there's something to eat, that they can take part in some sort of event," he said.

G8 EVENTS
10-11 June: G8 finance ministers' pre-summit meeting, London
15-17 June: G8 justice and interior ministers' meeting, Sheffield
23 June: G8 pre-summit foreign ministers' meeting, London
2 July: Live 8 concerts in London's Hyde Park as well as in Philadelphia, Paris, Rome and Berlin
6 July: The Long Walk To Justice Live 8 rally in Edinburgh
6-8 July: G8 summit at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire

"That's not the case. I know they understand the risks in that and I'm sure that's not what he intended."

Mr Dickinson also said that his officers would not use CS gas, rubber bullets or water cannon to control any violent protests.

"There are no water cannons in Scotland," he stated. "We do not use rubber bullets in public order management in Scotland. It will not happen".

Speaking on Tuesday, Geldof's Band Aid partner Midge Ure said plans were being made for a convoy of planes, cars, trucks, ferries and private boats to take people to Scotland.

He also urged every householder and religious institution in Edinburgh to offer hospitality to the protesters.

"We want every church, chapel, synagogue and mosque to open their doors and let them in," he said.

As well as the rally on 6 July, a free concert is being organised for Murrayfield.


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Watch Midge Ure's plea over the G8 protests



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