Legal charges for road closure orders could disproportionately affect organisers of small protests and local marches while larger organisations will avoid being billed, according to an academic.
Dr Michael Rosie, of Edinburgh University, said a Police Scotland policy will affect people demonstrating against issues including school closures or benefit cuts but that councils may back down against larger organisations like the Orange Order.
Traffic orders can take up to three months to process and cost as much as £1,200.
Dr Rosie added: “This is not about Orange marches but the principle of freedom of association and the right to protest.
“Nothing inherent in Police Scotland’s stance inhibits that directly, but in practical terms it will make it much more difficult.”
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