Tens of thousands march through Edinburgh to back Scottish independence

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A march in support of Scottish independence has seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets of Edinburgh.

Organisers said more than 100,000 people attended, making the event the “biggest ever” in support of the cause.

Police Scotland said the local authority estimates 20,000 people took part.

Yes flags
Yes flags blow in the wind as the campaigners march down the Royal Mile (Jane Barlow/PA)

Gary Kelly, of the campaign group, said: “It’s amazing, the fight for independence is well and truly alive.

“Glasgow was the biggest, now Edinburgh’s beaten it – we’ll need to beat it again in Glasgow.

“The fact it was in the capital is brilliant.”

Linda Hamilton, from Glasgow, was one of those who took part.

She said: “I believe in Scottish independence and I believe today is a demonstration – a visual demonstration – that there is a need for independence in our country.”

Pro-indy rally
The march ended at Holyrood Park, where a rally took place featuring speeches and live bands (Jane Barlow/PA)

A small number of union-supporting counter-protesters were on the Royal Mile as the pro-independence crowds walked past.

They shouted they are proud to be “Scottish and British”.

Independence supporter Iona Young, 20, from Dunfermline, claimed the contrast in numbers for each side showed their togetherness.

She added: “It just proves that we all agree on the same thing. There were a few unionists back at the top there, but there’s only about 20 of them compared to how many we’ve got here.”

Scotland in Union chief executive Pamela Nash said: “Poll after poll shows that a majority of Scots don’t want a divisive and unnecessary second independence referendum.

“Those marching in Edinburgh are not representative of Scotland, and they are talking to nobody but themselves. The organisers should also be ashamed of the way they have attacked Historic Environment Scotland staff for doing their job.

Unionist counter-protesters
Supporters of the union said they are proudly Scottish and British (Jane Barlow/PA)

Bands, bikers, people in fancy dress and countless Saltire flags were all part of the march towards Holyrood.

Those who gathered in the park listened to speeches and live music performances.

Others scaled Arthur’s Seat to get a better view of the event.

Pro-indy rally
The march began near Edinburgh Castle (PA)

A spokesman for the Scottish Government body said: “Our position on use of the park for any rally after the march remains the same. It has not been overruled by Police Scotland.

“To confirm, we have not given permission for the set-up of stalls, staging, branding and other static presence within Holyrood Park.”

Inspector Murray Starkey said: “Police Scotland worked alongside event organisers and partners for a planned march in the capital.

Pro-indy rally
A young independence supporter had the Scottish flag painted on his face for the event (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Disruption to the city centre was as expected and all roads reopened as planned.

“Queen’s Drive was temporarily closed to ensure public safety.

“One arrest was made in connection with a minor offence.

“Both the participants and the wider public are thanked for their patience and co-operation during the event.”

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