Women were penned behind barriers while protestors were allowed to surround them on three sides - Susan Dalgety

I joined hundreds of women from across Scotland and beyond last weekend at a rally on the Mound. Organised by Kellie-Jay Keen, founder of the grassroots group Let Women Speak, it was an opportunity for women to share their views on a range of issues, from politics to puberty blockers for youngsters.
The Let Women Speak rally at The Mound. (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)The Let Women Speak rally at The Mound. (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
The Let Women Speak rally at The Mound. (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Some people – including one of Edinburgh’s Green councillors – decided the event was a protest against people who identify as trans, and so came along to make a very noisy point. Quite why masked young men, wearing bad dungarees and with unkempt hair, thought a group of mild-mannered, largely middle-aged women were a threat to them only they know, but they made their feelings all too clear.

At one point their protest was so loud it reached 105 decibels – which can damage hearing. I won’t comment on how the event was policed, as I have made a complaint elsewhere. Suffice to say Police Scotland messed it up. The women were penned behind barriers with only one way in and out, while the protestors were allowed to surround them on three sides, screaming abuse at the top of their voices throughout.

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On the morning of the event, Councillor Alys Mumford, who represents Portobello and Craigmillar, took to social media to urge people to join the protestors and experience “trans joy”. But she was strangely silent the next day when it was revealed that trans activists had spray-painted the steps at the Mound, and also defaced several lampposts. A special council squad had to be deployed to clean up the area.

Now I am sure the councillor does not condone vandalism, which is after all a criminal act. Nor do I believe she would encourage people to deface one of the most important city centre sites in our beautiful city. But I do find it rather strange that while she was very keen to encourage protestors to drown out women’s voices, she has not condemned the vandals who damaged an historic site, costing the council a pretty penny. The special chemicals required to remove paint from Edinburgh’s porous stone buildings are not cheap, nor are Sunday overtime rates. I look forward to a social media post from Councillor Mumford denouncing the hooligans.