City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh City Council Recognises Occupy Edinburgh

By edg - Posted on 25 November 2011

Alexander and Bucephalus

“Council recognises the aims of the ‘Occupy’ movements throughout the world and understands that they are an attempt to redirect economic decisions to be more orientated toward the poor and disenfranchised which is a sentiment the Council endorses.“

Edinburgh City Council yesterday voted to recognise the Occupation of St Andrew Square, in the city's historic financial quarter, in a motion put forward by Green candidate Maggie Chapman.

The motion was seconded by the Scottish Labour Party and was slightly amended by the SNP and LibDems. The only party not to back the final motion was the Conservatives.

Lib Dem Council Leader Jenny Dawe expressed sympathies with the Occupy cause and the need to reform the "disgusting gap between rich and poor" and Labour Councillor Gordon Munro reiterated his strong support for the Robin Hood Tax, which the movement marched in support of at the end of last month.

In a statement Occupy Edinburgh said: "We regard this as a fantastic step forward in the opening of dialogue with the Scottish government. With this historic decision, Edinburgh City Council are setting an example in local administration, as well as sending a message to the governments in both Holyrood and Westminster. They have shown willingness for open dialogue and respect alongside a fundamental commitment to the concerns of the people they are elected to represent."

While the motion sets a precedent for the UK, it is not the first time that a local council has supported an Occupation. The city council in Victoria, Canada, voted to recognise a local Occupation in a city square last month, although the encampment was recently forced to shut down by the police and provincial courts.

Edinburgh Occupiers are hoping that the Council's motion will encourage other municipalities around the world to get behind the Occupy movement.

In its statement, Occupy Edinburgh said:

"Local Councils are the first step in the re-population of democracy, and should be following the example of Scotland’s capital by aligning themselves to a grassroots paradigm that places people and community before profit and unsustainable growth."