Scottish Greens and Scottish CND have today highlighted the need for calm to be restored following yesterday’s disturbances in Edinburgh, and for as many peaceful protesters as possible to make their way to Gleneagles tomorrow, wearing white to revive the atmosphere of Saturday’s march.
Greens MSPs today urged other Scottish politicians to back their call for calm from both police and protesters following yesterday’s events in which Green MSPs Mark Ballard and Shiona Baird were accidentally caught up. (1) They praised the relaxed and constructive approach of police officers at yesterday’s Faslane demonstration which was largely uneventful, and called for the same approach to be taken tomorrow at the organised march near Gleneagles Hotel.
The aim is to stage a large, peaceful protest within earshot of G8 leaders in the Gleneagles Hotel. Green MSPs will be in attendance on the march, some as legal observers and some joining with the Scottish Green Party presence. Greens will be making as much noise as possible, and leading others to do the same, in order to ensure that the G8 hear the voices of those calling for action on poverty and climate change.
Mark Ruskell, local Green MSP for the area, said: “The police at Faslane on Monday are to be praised for their hands-off and relaxed approach – and that is exactly what we want to see again tomorrow. The over-riding theme of the day should be peace and peaceful protest, with the utmost respect for local residents and businesses.
“It is easy for G8 leaders to dismiss violence – it is not so easy for them to turn a deaf ear to a powerful, peaceful and passionate message that lets them know in no uncertain terms that they must take some radical action on poverty and climate change. The G8 must hear the sound of ordinary people who want to give voice to those the G8 doesn’t want to hear – the world’s poor and those at most risk from climate change. Ordinary people found a voice last Saturday – now they must take that voice to Gleneagles and be heard again.
“The Perth & Kinross Council decision to agree a legal route for a march was the right one – a ‘free for all’ would have benefited no-one, least of all the people of Auchterarder. All those involved now need to work together to ensure that it is a success.”
The call was echoed by Mike Martin, Secretary of Scottish CND. He said, “CND members will be attending tomorrow to call for the G8 to act to end conflict and promote peace. Police action at Faslane on Monday was reasonable and restrained, as were the protesters. By working in this way we can all be guaranteed the chance to have our say and make our voice heard, rather than the issues at stake being drowned out by confrontation and chaos.”
Green MSP Mark Ballard, who was accidentally caught up in the Edinburgh protests yesterday, said: “The Make Poverty History march made a remarkable statement precisely because it was characterised by consensus and calm. We are calling for protesters to come to Gleneagles tomorrow – wearing white as a mark of their peaceful intentions – but to be ready to send a loud and clear message to the G8 leaders. They need to hear the clamour for change, like they need to listen to those all over the world demanding an end to poverty and for urgent action on climate change.”
Green MSPs Mark Ballard, Chris Ballance and Mark Ruskell are all attending as ‘legal observers’ to monitor public order and public safety on the march.
Scottish Greens have been involved in all main demonstrations and counter-Summit events. On Thursday 7 July, a special conference will be held in the Scottish Parliament with leading economists and policy makers and commentators, debating the need to radically change the way we develop, measure and think about our economy, as if people and the environment mattered.
On Thursday at 13.45hrs, Greens will be at various locations throughout the country taking part in the Friends of the Earth ‘Climate Alarm’ event.
On Friday near Gleneagles, Mark Ruskell MSP will jointly present the ‘Gleneagles Green Energy Declaration’ on climate change with the Scottish renewable energy industry and NGOs – targeted at G8 leaders on the last day of the Summit for action on renewables in the G8 countries and in the developing world. There will be demonstrations of renewable technology outside the venue. (2)
For more information or to arrange interview locations and times with local Green MSP Mark Ruskell and others, please contact 0790 99 33 074 or 0771 761 8771.
Notes to Editors
1. See press release at http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/
Motion lodged today in the Scottish Parliament by Mark Ballard:
That the Parliament notes the eyewitness reports of the protest in Edinburgh on
July 4, is concerned that groups of local youths drinking alcohol were
allowed to walk into the areas where there were disturbances, is
concerned that innocent bystanders were also able to wander unknowingly
into the protests and were then contained by police officers and not
allowed to move away from the unrest, and further that there was a lack
of clear communication by the police resulting in confusion and panic
among protesters and the public, recognises the difficult situation
faced by police officers on the ground, but questions the Justice
Minister’s description of police tactics as prioritising the maintenance
of “public safety and public order”, and appeals for calm from both
police and protesters ahead of the organised peaceful march planned
near Gleneagles Hotel on July 6.
2. The climate change event will take place in the Moray Institute, Blackford, Perthshire, (1.5 miles from Gleneagles) on the morning of July 8. (NB event is not in Blackford Town Hall as previously stated)
Contact: Esther Black
Scottish Green MSPs
Edinburgh EH99 1SP
t: 0131 348 6360
m: 0771 761 8771