ORGANISERS of a planned mass demonstration in favour of Scottish independence say they have been blocked from using a key route.

Chain of Freedom organiser Wilma Bowie said her plans for part of a massive human chain had been blocked by Scottish Canals.

She told The National the organisation had blocked the demo from lining along the Union Canal, which runs between Falkirk and Edinburgh, meaning the group will now have to use the Forth and Clyde Canal, which links Falkirk with Bowling in West Dunbartonshire. 

They are said to have told the Chain of Freedom organisers that the plans were unsafe. 

READ MORE: Chain of Freedom plan update after canal rejection

It will mean, if the plans are successful, 49,000 people will line the canal path between the Firth of Forth and the west coast on October 14. 

This is down from an estimated 77,000 needed to line the longer proposed route from Bowling to Edinburgh. The new route is nearly 20 miles shorter than initially planned. 

Bowie told The National: “Scottish Canals has denied us permission to use the Union Canal for our Chain of Freedom Scotland event, citing health and safety reasons, and that it is not fit for the purpose of our event. 

"However, we are able to undertake the event on the Forth and Clyde Canals.

"We will not let this deter us and makes our will to show Westminster, the Unionists and the people of the wider world  that Scotland does want her independence, even stronger.

"As we are all responsible organisers that know the importance of health and safety and our team agreed to accept the decision of Scottish Canals as the safety of our people are paramount.

"We have now refocused our efforts. With great time and effort our team have now rearranged thousands of people into suggested new sections along the length of the Forth and Clyde canal as alternatives to the Union Canal. 

"We have distributed these via email and also our social media."

READ MORE: Scottish independence Chain of Freedom demo plans reach major milestone

Richard Millar, the chief operating officer of Scottish Canals said Chain of Freedom had agreed with the organisation it would be unsafe to stand along the Union Canal. 

He said: "In discussions with the Chain of Freedom organisers we highlighted that the Union Canal towpath was too narrow for this scale of event and would significantly impact users on the popular route, reviewing the path they agreed with our recommendations and have now focused on the Forth and Clyde Canal which is wider and more suited to welcoming this scale of visitors.

"We received a revised plan from Chain of Freedom yesterday and our discussion regarding the event planning and risk assessments continue.

“As this is a major event (75,000 plus), which impacts much wider than our canal towpath, for example local access routes and welfare facilities, we have asked the organisers to provide assurances that they have engaged appropriately with local authorities and Police Scotland.

"We will continue to liaise with the organisers on these points.”