Women to get whistles after camp assault

Protesters at St Andrew Square
Protesters at St Andrew Square
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ANTI-capitalist protesters camping in St Andrew Square are set to issue whistles to female demonstrators following an alleged rape at the Glasgow campsite.

The growing Occupy Edinburgh camp is one of a string based on a similar movement in America, which saw people enter the financial districts of cities and stage sit-ins at banks and businesses.

Campaigners are protesting against the global economic system, which they say prioritises profit at the expense of people and the planet.

Posters and banners with messages such as “Fight for Fairness” and “Society Doesn’t Have to be Ruled by the Bankers” have been displayed in St Andrew Square.

However, following the alleged sexual assault of a 28-year-old woman in a tent at the Occupy Glasgow camp on Tuesday night, Edinburgh campaigners now plan to step up their own security.

Although protesters already take it in turns to perform security duties each night, with two people patrolling St Andrew Square with torches and radios, they also plan to issue women sleeping alone at the camp with whistles.

A protester, who didn’t want to be named and lives in Portobello, said: “We had a meeting on Wednesday night and what happened in Glasgow was discussed. The women in the camp said they feel safe but there are plans to get hold of some whistles.

“There’s also been a couple of instances with drunk children threatening to stab people and burn the tents down, but our in-house security moved them on.”

The 32-year-old, who is a carer for his partner and has been part of the protest since it started in Edinburgh, vowed to remain for “however long it takes”.

“We will be here for as long as it takes to see major change in the world, because that’s what we are here for,” he said.

“All the old systems that have been in place for hundreds, if not thousands, of years need changed because they’re not working and never did. With banks controlling our governments rather than people controlling them, the only way to get our voice out there is by doing something monumental.”

Father-of-one and freelance singer Pete Nicholson, 26, joined the Edinburgh camp this week.

He said: “I will be here for as long as it takes – that’s the general consensus. I’m willing to stay here for ten years if that’s how long it will be.

“Companies are making huge amounts of money on things like oil – things which are technically just as much ours as anybody elses.”

He added: “I would just like equality. It should come down to something as simple as that.”

The Edinburgh demonstrators are planning a protest march tomorrow, which starts at noon.

laura.cummings@edinburghnews.com

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