YOUNG climate change protestors have accused councillors of treating them like "criminals" after they were threatened with arrest if they did not change the route of a planned demonstration.

Youngsters planning to take part in a Global Climate Strike march through Edinburgh have said they were told they could be "lifted" if they walk along Princes Street, because of the disruption it would cause to the city's trams and buses.

Edinburgh council estimates that it would cost thousands to temporarily halt traffic at the city centre hotspot, and have banned the parade from walking there.

This is despite the local authority previously declaring a climate emergency, and its education committee saying pupils can take one day of action a year without any punishment.

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Princes Street has also previously been closed for a number of walks and parades, while more than 20 streets in the capital are to be shut today to allow filming of the latest chapter in the Hollywood blockbuster series Fast and Furious.

Tens of thousands are expected to take part in the climate march next Friday – with young demonstrators gathering at Middle Meadow Walk at 11am.

The Herald:

Marches by young protesters have taken place in cities around the UK

Youngsters want to march down Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, the Mound, Princes Street, North Bridge, High Street, Canongate, Horse Wynd and to the Scottish Parliament – but no decision has been made yet as to whether they will proceed with the route.

Representatives of Scottish Youth Climate Strikes, who are organising the march, said that this has been without any mention of public safety issues, or public order.

Sandy Boyd, 15, representing the protesters, said: “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.”

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During a meeting of the licensing sub-committee, Green Cllr Susan Rae called for the committee to allow the demonstrators to be able to use Princes Street – as is done for Hogmanay celebrations and the festival fireworks – while Make Poverty History and a women’s suffrage celebration was allowed permission to use the route.

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.”

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

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

"In view of the significant potential disruption which would result from the proposed route, it is recommended that an order should be made attaching standard conditions and requiring the march to proceed down the alternative route."

The Herald:

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

Labour councillor Scott Arthur has previously supported the protesters using Princes Street.

He said: “I feel like we have let them down.”

Licensing convener, Cllr Catherine Fullerton said: “Committee must take account of the concerns and note your unwillingness to change the route and use the proposed route.

READ MORE: "We will not stop till we see this issue fixed" The climate strikers facing down Edinburgh Council​

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

Police Scotland raised no official objection to the event.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Council said that while walking the route which had not been agreed by officials was "technically illegal", it was unlikely that police would be heavy-handed enough to arrest the demonstrators.