AROUND 15,000 people have joined a pro-union Orange march through Edinburgh, days before Scotland goes to the polls.
Unionists from across the UK joined those from Scotland and marched through the city centre with drums, flutes, banners, and orange sashes. Police said there had been no arrests and the event passed off peacefully.
The “Proud to be British” event gathered in the Meadows to hear speeches by grand masters and senior figures from around the UK, before setting off past landmarks including the former house of their inspiration John Knox and the General Assembly Hall where his statue stands.
They also passed the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
In a speech ahead of the march, Grand Chaplain Henry Williamson said: “Brothers and sisters, in a world of instability, a world of insecurity, a world of nuclear proliferation, of radical Islam, people look to the UK as a land of hope, a land of peace, of success and unity and an example if what they so desperately long for - unity not stupidity, unity not division, unity not separation, unity not them and us.”
Ron Bather, grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of England and imperial grand Master of the Imperial World Council, said: “As individual nations, could we have succeeded in defeating Nazism in 1939? I don’t think so.
“It was the resolve and the endeavour of the individuals that make up this country that stood up against a mightier foe, and how many times in the past has this country been left to stand alone and yet has never been defeated.
“To you Scottish sisters and brethren, this coming week is you chance to defeat once and for all the separatists, the people that want to change your way of life.”
Police said the event involved around 15,000 participants, 110 Orange Lodge bands and several thousand spectators.
Superintendent Phil O’Kane said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to the public for their cooperation during what was a peaceful march.”