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Last month the council’s education committee granted pupils one day a year to take action without any punishment

Schoolchildren have been banned from marching down Princes Street during a planned climate change protest.

The city council’s licensing sub-committee said marchers would not be allowed to set foot on Princes Street on 20 September.

It comes despite the council declaring a climate emergency and its education committee granting pupils one day to take action without any punishment.

Police Scotland have raised no official objection to the event.

Council roads officials made the decision to place the ban after organisers refused to divert the route from Princes Street.

Organisers say they expect tens of thousands to take part in the event, with young demonstrators set to gather at Middle Meadow Walk at 11:00 on Friday 20 September.

They had planned to march down Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, the Mound, Princes Street, North Bridge, High Street, Canongate, Horse Wynd and on to the Scottish Parliament.

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Climate campaigner Sandy Boyd, 15, said he was threatened with “being lifted” by officials, if Princes Street was used by marchers.

He added: “They have declared a climate emergency and they are not acting on it – they are going back on their decision. I really hope history judges them for it.”

Green councillor Susan Rae has called for the march to be allowed to proceed down Princes Street after a similar route was taken by Make Poverty History and women’s suffrage campaigners.

She said: “We seem to be in an unprecedented situation where they have actually banned them from going onto Princes Street.

“We have allowed orange marches, but we have actually banned children from setting foot onto Princes Street.

“The council has pledged to support climate change as a priority – this is not a good way to do that.

“I’m extremely disappointed and actually quite alarmed the council is treating schoolchildren like criminals. If the police come for the schoolchildren, they will have to go through me first.”

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In a report to councillors, officials warned that closing Princes Street would mean tram services were stopped – costing the authority about £15,000 in damages, as well as having “a large impact on how people travel to and from Waverley Station”.

The report added: “It is likely that this disruption will continue for several hours after the procession has ended.”

Councillors voted four to two in favour of banning the march from Princes Street.

Catherine Fullerton, City of Edinburgh Council’s licensing convener, said: “Committee must take account of the concerns and note your unwillingness to change the route and use the proposed route.

“This means that Princes Street can not be used due to the significant disruption.”

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