Nostalgia: Power to the people

THE sight of activists dressed as polar bears putting a petrol station under seige may have tickled the ribs of those who saw it, but behind the performance there was a serious message.

Activists from Greenpeace shut down 14 Shell garages in the Capital in the early hours of Monday morning in protest against the company’s plans to drill for Arctic oil.

Scenes of unrest are far from unusual in Edinburgh. One in May 1987 saw several thousand students march up the Mound in the biggest demonstration seen in the city for many years. They were driven by government plans to introduce student loans to replace grants.

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Post Office workers demanded the full support for communications and transport unions when they walked out in 1971. A parade along Princes Street highlighted their demand for better wages.

A group of schoolboys proved protesters are never too young to have their say in 1964, when they were banned from playing football in the Magdalene housing scheme.

In 1979 a family went the extra mile — or the extra 380 miles to be precise — in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stop work going ahead on the Torness nuclear power


Ken and Liz Brown, and children Russ, Colleen and Tom, walked from Stroud in Gloucestershire to East Lothian, handing out leaflets along the way, ahead of a rally by the campaign group Torness Alliance.

And Scotland was suffering in 1986 when ‘medics’ from the SNP handed an image of the country into Scottish Secretary Malcolm Rifkind at St Andrew’s House, claiming the economy had been shattered.