Scottish Pro-Independence Rally Draws Thousands In Edinburgh

Scottish Pro-Independence Rally Draws Thousands

Thousands of pro-independence campaigners have joined a march and rally in Scotland's capital, calling for a Yes vote in next year's independence referendum.

The event in Edinburgh appeared to draw crowds from across the country, with marchers filling the top half of the Royal Mile before wending their way along a city centre route.

Thousands of supporters attended the rally for Scottish Independence last year

During the day, the gathered crowds were expected to hear speeches from key figures in the pro-independence movement such as First Minister Alex Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon.

The march got under way at midday with cheers, applause and whistling from the crowds.

The campaigners gathered in the city's High Street before heading slowly along North Bridge, Waterloo Place and Regent Road towards the final destination of Calton Hill.

Speaking ahead of the rally, 20-year-old student Calum Martin, from near Glasgow, said: "It's a fantastic event, it brings a lot of people together and just injects energy and colour into a debate which otherwise can run the risk of becoming full of statistics and number crunching.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for people to get to know each other and to show their support. It's a great turnout."

Giving his own reasons for wanting independence, he said: "Fundamentally it's about what's in the best interests of the people of Scotland.

"Scotland is an incredibly wealthy country. This is a chance to put that wealth to much better use, rather than having it frittered away by Westminster spending it on Trident nuclear weapons, endless international wars.

"It's a chance to protect the NHS, to protect social spending, to invest in the future of the Scottish people."

Retired architect Iain Graham, of Stirling, said: "If somebody would give me a thousand votes I would use every single one of them as a 'Yes'.

"Scotland should have the opportunity to make it's own decisions for itself and so should future generations."

A range of groups took part in the protest, from political parties to organisations such as Farming for YES and Football Supporters for Independence.

Many of those assembled waved flags or held banners in support of their cause, turning the streets into a sea of colour.

The event follows last year's independence rally which brought around 10,000 people onto the streets of Edinburgh, marching from the Meadows in the city's old town to Princes Street Gardens for speeches and live music.

It comes just days after campaign groups and politicians marked one year to go until the referendum on September 18 2014.

Voters in Scotland will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" when they go to the polls in the referendum.

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