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Friday, 20 May 2011

Reclaim the Afternoon, the Night and the Right to a Living Community

Residents and traders are supporting the march - they seem to be flabbergasted at the council's response to the march to use the residents in such a way.  Grassmarket residents and traders have repeatedly raised about noise levels, night time events, drunken groups of men and an intimidating atmosphere that some residents feel unsafe to leave their homes at night - they have tried their best to engage with the council but time and time again they are almost accused as NIMBYs  trying to spoil good fun and to wreck the "night time economy", now it seems the council agree with them about noise, night time events and crowds of intimidating drunken men!!!  The Grassmarket residents are not NIMBYs and find the comments made by the council worrying.

The below article comes from the Grassmarket website.

 Reclaim the Afternoon, the Night and the Right to a Living Community
May 20th 2011
Today in Edinburgh's Grassmarket the wheels of a bandwagon can be heard turning on the recently-laid caithness stone and all and sundry are climbing aboard. This is a good thing for residents; it's good for the whole community; and it's good for the city.

What's prompted this is the police and city council response to the Reclaim the Night March scheduled for next Saturday, May 28th. (Link to BBC Report). The authorities feared that the women would be in danger from the hoards of drunks who frequent the area at week-ends; the influx of rugby supporters could only make matters worse. The reaction of the authorities mirrors some of the concerns set our in our report Here Comes the Night which one local councillor said would be dismissed as 'anecdotal evidence' by Council officials.So, it's heartening to hear so many others - business people, public representatives, citizens of Edinburgh - say "yes, it's all true: the Grassmarket is a no-go area for many people due to the Night Time Economy - and something needs to be done about it."

Perhaps now there can be constructive dialogue about what kind of city we want to live in and what kind of environment we want to share with visitors. It may also be the time to stop talking and do something about it.

GATA offers support for this march :  

Bill Baber Knitwear and Fawns at Fabhatrix  will open shop at 20.00 on the 28th May during the march through the Grassmarket in further protest at the disgraceful way the Grassmarket area and Victoria Street is treated by the late night economy.

“We all work hard on our window displays , but  here there is no of peaceful evening window shopping on a Friday and Saturday nights, and the noise late into the night and early morning  perpetuates an extreme problem for residents.”

"Traders reclaim the night and indeed Saturday afternoons!"

Contact GATA if you are prepared to join in this or If you have any other ideas on how to get the message across
through  Bill Baber for GATA GATA Website

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Reclaim the Night March 28.05.11 from 19:30 Usher Hall to Teviot Hall

Assemble at 19:30 outside Usher Hall, Lothian Road, march starts at 20:00 - march to Teviot Hall via Grassmarket. 
Women, children and men are welcome 

What a palava in the Old Town, women organised a Reclaim theStreet march to promote safer streets for women, however there had been some issues over their route.  They wanted to march through the Grassmarket a popular place for stag nights and large groups of drunken men.  The council was worried that due to a Champions League rugby match being on at the weekend that the women would not be safe from the loutish rugby fans !!!  also that they would cause "noise pollution" and upset Grassmarket residents by causing a noise and a commotion.  It has caused a flurry of emails between local councillors and residents who were surprised that the Grassmarket was unsafe for women and that the council had a position on "noise pollution" which appeared to be news to the residents who put up with outside drinking and evening events most weekends!

Anyway after some huffing and puffing the march will be going ahead - the organisers are sensitive to the residents have agreed not to use their drums and to be quiet whilst they tip toe through the Grassmarket and only muttering under their breathes "whose streets? our streets!" and "everywhere we go, yes means yes and no means no"

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News organiser Laura Leath said, “The council made it clear to us that for the march to go ahead we'd need to make changes like moving it forward by an hour and remaining silent through the Grassmarket to ensure the safety of marchers.
"Obviously we'd rather march than not, but it's strange to say the least that a march highlighting violence against women is being compromised for fear of aggravating men and therefore risking the safety of women marchers.

"I hope the hypocrisy of this is not lost on local councillors and officials.

"Either the centre of Edinburgh is not safe for women or this is an over- reaction by the council.

"The point of the march is to make it clear that the responsibility for sexual and gender-based violence against women lies solely with the perpetrator.

"Women have a right to walk any time and anywhere through the streets of Edinburgh without fear of violence."

Meanwhile council officials insisted that the organisers had volunteered to alter the start time for the march and that concerns over disturbance to local residents were raised when the organisers of the march initially suggested that a drumming band may have been involved in the evening event.

In a statement released by the Council, a spokesperson said: “The organisers proposed an earlier start time which has resulted in a mutually acceptable solution.”

You can find out more about the event on the Reclaim The Night Facebook page.