Edinburgh council urged to rename Russian consulate street after Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton, wants Melville Street in Edinburgh to instead be called Zelensky Street.
He has written to Edinburgh City Council asking them to make the change “urgently”, saying it would remind everyone visiting the consulate of “Putin’s murderous and destructive invasion of Ukraine”.
Naming the street after Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, would be a “small but meaningful gesture”, Mr Cole-Hamilton insisted.
In a letter to Edinburgh City Council leader, Adam McVey, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “We must seek to shame Putin at every possible opportunity.
“As such, everyone visiting or writing to the consulate should be reminded of Putin’s murderous and destructive invasion of Ukraine.”
Renaming the street “mirrors the kind of protest that was used against South African embassies during Apartheid,” the Lib Dem added.
He also insisted it would highlight the “proud tradition of solidarity shown by Scots to oppressed and persecuted people the world over”.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Our city has responded with horror and compassion to the images coming out of Ukraine. The offers to house those fleeing the horror of war in capital homes has been truly inspiring.
“This would be a further beacon of solidarity for the people of Ukraine.”
Campaigners also created a road sign for Windsor Street in Edinburgh, outside the Ukrainian consulate, renaming it in honour of Mr Zelensky.
Mr Cole-Hamilton issued the renaming call 24 hours after Mr Zelensky made a historic speech to the Commons via videolink.
During his address, he invoked the Second World War spirit of Winston Churchill, praised the UK for its support in Ukraine’s fight for survival and thanked Prime Minister Boris Johnson by name.
At the end of the speech, MPs rose to give Mr Zelensky a standing ovation.
The consulate in Melville Street has been the focal point for several protests following the Russian invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago.
The move is similar to one in Glasgow where the street housing the South African Consulate was changed to Nelson Mandela Place in 1986.
The name change, at the height of the anti-apartheid campaign, came after the city became the first in the world to make Mandela an official freeman in 1981.
Mr McVey said councillors would consider what action they could take at a meeting next week.
The council leader said: “As a city, Edinburgh stands by everyone suffering in this conflict and are committed to showing our solidarity with the people of our twin city, Kyiv, and all of Ukraine.
“Last week, when we met with the Ukrainian community, we pledged to offer support in whatever way we can and continue to fly their flag above the City Chambers.
“We’re considering the most suitable way of honouring the immense courage being shown by President Zelensky and his people and what further measures we can take as a council to express our condemnation against the actions of Putin.
“All parties are standing as one on this and we’ll approve initial measures at next week’s council meeting.”
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