Edinburgh set for 100,000 independence supporters for 'biggest ever' march
Much of the centre of Edinburgh is set to grind to a halt on Saturday as tens of thousands of independence supporters converge on the Capital.
Organisers of the All Under One Banner (AUOB) rally predict that more than 100,000 people - and potentially as many as 250,000 - will take part amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.
Saturday’s march from Holyrood to the Meadows is the culmination of months of demonstrations in support of a second independence referendum in towns and cities across the country, including Glasgow, Aberdeen, the Borders, Oban, Ayr and Perth.
“We’re probably going to see a lot of people from across Scotland who’ve been to those other demonstrations making the effort to come here,” said founder of All Under One Banner, Neil Mackay.
Mackay’s prediction of between 100,000 and 250,000 people would make it one of the biggest rallies that the Capital has seen in living memory, rivalling the size of the ‘Make Poverty History’ protest in the city in 2005, which made headlines around the world as 200,000 protesters formed a ‘human chain’ ahead of a G8 leaders meeting at Gleneagles.
Mackay said the 21st event organised by AUOB would certainly be its biggest, adding the “current political climate and Westminster chaos” has “built momentum” in the independence movement.
The march, leaving from Holyrood Park at 1pm and walking up the Royal Mile and over George IV Bridge to finish at the Meadows, will be presented by comedian and activist Janey Godley.
Mackay said people also come from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and elsewhere around the globe for the marches.
Those travelling into the city on Saturday are being advised to plan ahead to avoid disruption.
Edinburgh City Council and Police Scotland said they had plans in place to deal with the high numbers of people on the streets.
A council spokesperson said: “The safety of the public is of utmost importance to the Council and we have worked closely with organisers, Police Scotland and other partners to agree a route and conditions for this march which aim to ensure its smooth passage through the city.”
Police Scotland said: “A comprehensive policing plan is in place and we continue to liaise with the organisers and the event will be policed appropriately.”
There are no special measures in place to cope with high numbers travelling to and from the capital, and Scotrail will be running normal services.
“It’s set to be a busy day on Scotland’s Railway, and with multiple events on in the capital city, trains to and from Edinburgh will be much busier than normal throughout the day,” a spokesperson said.
“Every available train will be out on the network to get customers where they need to be. Our advice to customers is to plan ahead, allow extra time for travel, and buy your ticket in advance, not on the day.”