ORGANISERS OF Saturday's Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh have cut back the route amid fears that demonstrators could seriously disrupt public transport, a senior council safety official said this week.
Edinburgh City Council persuaded the organisers to adopt a 3.4km route instead of a much longer one through the city centre.
The longer route would have taken the march the length of busy Princes Street, passing Waverley and Haymarkey stations. Council safety officer Tom O'Brien said this would have risked bringing bus services to a halt and clogging entrances to city centre railway stations.
The shorter route is used for Edinburgh Festival events and Hogmanay celebrations.
'This is a tried and tested route that we are comfortable with, ' said O'Brien.
But he acknowledged that Saturday's demonstration could be a much larger event with as many as 40,000 people on the route at any one time.
A total of 100,000 protesters are expected to attend the rally after the march in The Meadows park in the city centre.
A proprietary barrier system will line the streets to separate demonstrators from other pedestrians.
'There will be areas of access in that barrier configuration to allow emergency access, ' said O'Brien.
All police leave has been cancelled and the event will be heavily stewarded to prevent congestion among the marchers.
O'Brien will monitor the march from a specially set up control room.