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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Ure makes G8 'don't panic' plea
Midge Ure and Bob Geldof

Pop star Midge Ure has urged people "not to panic" about a call for a million protesters to converge on Edinburgh for an anti-poverty rally.

Ure said the police, council officials and residents should not take Bob Geldof's plea for a million protesters to head for the city literally.

"It's purely symbolic, it's just Bob being Bob," he added.

Geldof appealed for a million people to go to Edinburgh for the rally on 6 July to coincide with the G8 summit.

Edinburgh's deputy lord provost Steve Cardownie has accused Geldof of being irresponsible and senior police officers have expressed concern about the impact on resources.

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: Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh
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

But Ure, former frontman with Ultravox and a founder of Live Aid, responded: "I heard a police chief in Edinburgh quoted as saying it's totally irresponsible what we're doing and this gives anarchists the chance to hijack a high-profile event.

"But this is just scaremongering, it's just crazy.

"Don't panic. People have taken this figure one million literally but it's purely symbolic, it's just Bob being Bob."

Ure said he had tried unsuccessfully to rein him in and joked that Geldof had gone to Europe, leaving him to pick up the pieces.

"He could have said 10 million, he could have said a billion, Mars is going to crash into Scotland, it doesn't matter. It was a symbolic call for people to stand up and be counted," Ure added.

Troublemakers expected

Earlier, Lothian and Borders assistant chief constable Ian Dickinson said: "One million is not a possibility. It will not happen."

The vast majority of those coming to the city were coming to express their views and the police had no concerns about their behaviour, he told councillors.

There would, however, be a "very, very" small number who aimed to indulge in violence and he was in discussions with other Scottish police forces about the availability of officers to work in the capital.

Assistant chief constable Ian Dickinson
Asst chief constable Ian Dickinson ruled out the million figure

It was inevitable, Mr Dickinson said, that parts of the city would be brought to a halt.

A separate meeting has been held between police, Edinburgh Council officials and organisers of "The Long Walk to Justice".

Afterwards, they issued a statement saying: "We are working together to ensure that any large crowds are well organised and managed."

The council's director of city development, Andrew Holmes, said officials were working hard to identify camping sites for protesters but one of the problems was a shortage of portable toilets.

There were none left in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and sources in Europe were being contacted.

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