Activists from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty braved high-winds and heavy rain on Monday 9th November to converge on East Lothian Council offices at Brunton Hall Musselburgh in solidarity with sacked Council whistleblower Theresa Sives who tried to highlight the misdirection of Council funds. Sherriffs Officers have been persecuting Theresa in pursuit of £10,000 "court costs" which the Council bullies have demanded after a biased employment tribunal.

Carrying placards calling for "Justice for the East Lothian Council Whistleblower" the activists, alongside Theresa herself, her daughter and grandchildren picketed Brunton Hall entrance for an hour before occupying the main reception area for around another hour. They defied a threat that the police would be called, insisting on their right to support Theresa against the Council's bullying tactics.


After prolonged pressure the Council agreed to meet Theresa and an ECAP spokesperson. A letter for Council chief Angela Leitch demanding that the alleged debt be dropped was handed to manager Andrew Gordon, the senior Council official present, as was a substantial petition which had grown quickly as sympathetic passers-by were told about Theresa's situation.

Engaging with the public both inside and outside the hall the activists received a warm response including friendly honks of approval from taxi drivers, one of whom took some leaflets to distribute. ECAP were also told of several other incidents in which Council workers have been harrassed and bullied after trying to highlight malpractices in East Lothian.


A spokeperson for ECAP explained that the punitive demand for £10,000 from someone on a low income was causing untold stress and putting a family's home under threat. He made it clear that the issue was not going to go away until the charge was dropped.

Theresa warmly thanked the activists for their support and vowed to continue the struggle: "I was heartened at the warmth and support shown to me by ECAP members and people whom I had never met before. To travel to another town and stand in the wind and rain holding a placard to support someone that you don't even know, is a very selfless act and I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to attend.

The support that we received from the people of Musselburgh, who came up and asked me if I had a petition, because they wanted to sign it; and then stood in the wind and rain to do so, is something that I will never forget.

However, I was even more astonished at the support that we received from ELC staff inside the Brunton Hall; some of them asked to sign my petition, even though they knew that they would be seen on the CCTV, which is all over the Brunton Hall.

Thank you everyone for your time and your support you really don't know what it means to me."

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or ecap@lists.riseup.net. We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).