People arrived from all over Scotland on Saturday to take part in a demonstration to the US Consulate on Royal Crescent before returning down Princes Street for a rally at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. My good friend and fellow Lib Dem blogger Caron has written up a very good account of the events so I will be merely adding the pictures.
The Assembly point of East Market Street is just behind Waverley Station, but the number of attendees was so great that the street wall filled before the off.
As the march moved off it stretched from Waterloo Place the whole way back to the end of Waverley Bridge. The police estimate was of 5,000 protesters. The organisers said 10,000. Judging on my experience of football crowds and Caron's husband's experience of these things we'd say 7-8k is definitely about right.
Outside the US consulate the March ground to an almost absolute standstill as many people took their opportunity to throw shoes at images of George W. Bush. By the time those of us in the middle of the column of marchers arrived at the Consulate we were being persuaded to just carry on walking back towards the City Centre or else we may well still all have been there waiting to throw a shoe. Some of the kids came up with their own chant:
George Bush who are you?
I want to throw my shoe at you.
Caron had a meeting in Clifton Terrace yesterday but as soon as that was over she contacted us as we were up at the Consulate. When she finally got into the the Princes Street I missed her call but called her back only about 5 metres away from her almost at the top of Waverley Steps. So she joined the rest of us as we headed along Princes Street.
Malc last night asked me what was the point of us marching in Edinburgh. Well the number of different reports from around the world including Israel. Where a 'commendable' crowd were juxtaposed with thrown shoes outside a Georgian Mansion which house the American consulate shows just why this march was important. It also shows why the exemplary behaviour of the crowd in the cold wind and later the rain as well made this protest in Edinburgh's capital worthwhile.
The crowd of different races, ages, political allegiances, social background, Muslims, Jews, Christians, those of other faiths and none all marched on to the Ross Bandstand. To hear speeches from trade unionists, Muslim leaders, MSPs, John Barrett MP as well as two phone calls direct from Gaza itself one from a doctor who dealt with the injured and dead, a third of the dead being children. The other Gaza call was from a community leader who said that three schools had been bombed in Gaza.