Shocked onlookers have told of their horror after a violent mass brawl broke out on the Royal Mile in broad daylight.
A group of around 20 men were involved in the melee, which saw bottles hurled, punches thrown and one combatant kicked in the face as he lay on the ground.
The shocking incident, which occurred at around 4.30pm in an area usually popular with tourists and families, began in the High Street before it spilled into Niddry Street.
It is understood that police are linking the disturbance to a loyalist march which took place earlier.
Neill Brotherston, manager at Hector Russell Kiltmaker, described the incident as a “running pitched battle” between the two groups.
He said: “There was a bunch of guys who ran into the pub next door and then came tearing out hurling things. Members of the public seemed to disperse pretty quickly. It looked semi-organised.
“I just pulled the doors to the shop shut. It’s not really something you expect at that time of day or in this part of town.”
It is believed that two men, aged 44 and 47, suffered minor injuries.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and are pursuing a positive line of inquiry in identifying others who may have been involved.
Staff who worked in nearby bars and shops on Saturday said that they noticed a marked difference in the type of customers in the area.
Erin Hennessey, a barmaid who was on duty at The Royal Mile pub when the brawl occurred, said: “Normally it’s mainly tourists in here, but you could say we had some interesting customers on Saturday. You might use the term radge.
“I came in at noon and they were already here, drinking from early on. They had kids with them but they kept refusing to order a meal which is against the licence.
“They were tough customers, a lot of them were interested in the Orange march.”
Staff in the Ladbrokes bookmakers had to lock their customer toilets after louts repeatedly spilled into the shop and demanded to use them. The incident coincided with Armed Forces Day, which also took place on Saturday.
Hollie Croan, who started her shift at the Whiski bar and restaurant at 5pm, saw the aftermath of the fight, after police had arrived on the scene.
But she said she noticed an unusual level of drunkards in the area until the early hours of yesterday.
“All through the evening there was a very different tone,” she said. “We’re a tourist place really. But there were a lot more people who had been brought out by the marches. When I started my shift, the fighting had just finished. There were police all along the street. I think there were two or three scraps over the course of the day. It was bizarre, there were hundreds of people standing around.
“I would say people were quite drunk. We didn’t have too much trouble, but I think if we were a larger bar there would have been big trouble. There was a lot more drunk people than we’re used to.
“When I finished, there was drunk people sitting all up the street, spewing everywhere. It was pandemonium.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Four men have arrested and charged with alleged assaults following a disturbance in Niddry Street, Edinburgh on Saturday 29th June.
“The men aged 18, 18, 18 and 21 are scheduled to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday 2nd July.”