Council consults on policy for protest marches and processions

Parades, processions and large-scale gatherings present a number of challenges to the city

A consultation by the City of Edinburgh Council is currently underway on the rules and guidance around holding parades and processions, including protest marches, in Edinburgh.
The public are being asked for their feedback on a new policy and code of conduct providing more clarity on the process for staging a public procession.
Organisers are required by law to give the Council at least 28 days’ notice of such an event, which will then be considered by the officers, along with the police and other interested parties.
But the Council says with an increase in the number of parades and processions taking place in Edinburgh over recent years, the need for a clear and consistent approach is apparent.
Licensing Convener Councillor Michael Bridgman said: “We recognise the positive impact of parades and processions in terms of freedom of speech, awareness-raising and unity, but they can also present a number of challenges to the city.
“That’s why we want to ensure a clear and consistent approach to the future planning of such events, resulting in their smooth running and the safety of all those involved.”
Once notified of the intention to hold a parade, the Council considers the impact it may have on a number factors such as public safety and potential damage to property, taking into account individual circumstances.
Other considerations include the intended route, whether there will be a return march and if music will be played.
If satisfied, and if no objections have been received, the Council will make an order confirming an agreed route and conditions where appropriate. If necessary, the Council has the power to prohibit a procession.
While the Council does not grant permission to hold parades or processions, it must be notified of the event. If the Council does not receive notification of a public procession it is deemed illegal.
Organisers of parades and anyone interested in holding a public procession are now being asked for their views on the clarity and ease of use of the notification process, policy and code of conduct relating to this.
Take part in the consultation, which closes on 31 March, on the Council website.

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