Organising a protest

An external view of the Scottish Parliament building.

Overview

The Scottish Parliament is an open, accessible and participative Parliament and recognises the importance of peaceful protest in a democratic society.  In the context of this guidance, we refer to protest as meaning any type of protest or demonstration.

The Scottish Parliament’s land is owned and managed by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (“SPCB”).

How to organise a protest

If you are proposing to organise a protest at the Scottish Parliament, you should contact us at the earliest opportunity. 

We will work with you to facilitate an organised and effective protest whilst protecting the rights and interests of others, including the staff, visitors, Members and neighbours of the Parliament.  

You can contact the Parliament’s Police Unit on 0131 348 5126 or 0131 348 6567, between Monday and Saturday, 9am to 6pm. The Parliament’s Security Office can be contacted on 0131 348 6554 or 0131 348 6562, between Monday and Friday, 8am to 5pm.

What you need to tell us about your planned protest

When you contact us to discuss your planned protest we will ask for your name, preferred contact details and what the protest is about.  We will ask you about your plans, for example the likely numbers of people attending, how you are advertising your protest, the times of your protest and who will be speaking. 

We will discuss your planned arrangements for the safety of members of the public attending the protest.  We will also explain to you any health and safety implications for use of the Parliament land that you should take into account. 

We will ordinarily grant permission to protest on Parliament land but, in the unlikely event that we have to refuse permission, we will explain why. 

What we expect from you and your protest

The SPCB has published a Code of Conduct containing general conditions for protests and demonstrations at the Parliament which all protesters are required to comply with. 

You should make sure you and members of the public attending the protest are aware of the conditions in the Code of Conduct.  Depending on what your protest will involve (for example if you wish to bring equipment onto the land), we may require you to comply with additional conditions.

Download the Protests and Demonstrations Code of Conduct [PDF, 20.1kb]

Why permission might be refused

The Parliament is impartial and serves all political views equally.  The SPCB must be impartial and politically neutral in its management of Parliamentary resources and that includes the land around the Parliament.  Therefore the SPCB will not grant permission for protests that are for or against a particular political party. 

You should be aware that if your protest falls within the statutory restricted period in the run up to an election or referendum, and is directly associated with either event, we may have to refuse permission.

We will refuse permission for camping or carrying out charitable collections.  We will also refuse permission if the protest’s duration or otherwise would have an unreasonable adverse impact on others’ use of the land. 

If any aspect of your proposed protest causes us concern, we will discuss this with you and to try to find a solution acceptable to both.

Contact us

Parliament Police Unit
Telephone:
0131 348 5126 or 0131 348 6567

The Police Unit can be contacted between Monday and Saturday, 9am to 6pm.

Parliament Security Office
Telephone:
0131 348 6554 or 0131 348 6562

The Security Office can be contacted between Monday and Friday, 8am to 5pm.