Pro-independence rally in Aberdeen given go-ahead by council

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The march will be in support of Scottish independence

A march and rally by a pro-independence group in Aberdeen city centre this weekend has been approved, amid a wrangle about paying the costs.

The All Under One Banner (AUOB) campaign expects at least 10,000 people to turn out on Saturday afternoon.

Aberdeen City Council gave the go-ahead with conditions.

The organisers said they did not intend paying the estimated associated costs of several thousand pounds, and that they expected Police Scotland to pay.

AOUB organiser Neil Mackay said of the approval: “It was a wise decision.”

He explained: “We expect Police Scotland as a national force to do what they do in other regions across Scotland when we put notifications in.

“They actually pay those traffic costs out of that budget which is there, specifically allocated to uphold the democratic rights of Scottish citizens.”

‘Put hands in pocket’

A police representative at the council meeting did not commit to paying any costs.

Licensing committee convenor John Reynolds said of the decision: “I think they have the right to speak and march.”

Asked about the costs issue, he told BBC Scotland: “It’s disappointing because we’re all trying to work together. It puts an onus on the people of Aberdeen, it’s money that we don’t have in the budget.

“I’m suggesting that Mr Mackay and the police get together and if it can be funded from a Police Scotland budget so be it.

“We can’t refuse the approval based on the finances, it’s as simple as that.”

He added: “Mr Mackay says there’s going to be 20,000 people coming along, possibly. Maybe those 20,000 people could put their hands in their pocket and stamp up 20p each.”

He said the council would take legal action over costs if needed.

Police Scotland has been asked for a comment.

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