Thousands march for Scottish independence

6 May 2019

Photograph: Sofia Teixeira Santos

Campaigners gather under one banner to call for another vote and secession from the UK

Tens of thousands of campaigners marched through Glasgow’s streets on Saturday in support of Scottish independence.

Glasgow was covered in blue and white as people (and dogs) draped themselves in saltires, marched through the city, had fun and fought to keep Scotland in the European Union.

The procession, organised by pro-independence group All Under One Banner (AUOB), departed at half past one from Kelvingrove Way and ended with a rally at Glasgow Green around 5pm.

Video: Sofia Teixeira Santos

An AUOB spokeswoman said the Glasgow March for Independence was happening “to galvanise the independence movement, to keep independence on the agenda, and to demonstrate that there is a desire for independence.”

Alec Gray, who was at the march, moved to Scotland from England 11 years ago. He said: “I moved up because I wasn’t happy with the way England was developing. The way people were treating each other and the way society was just not looking after people. And I thought Scotland was a better prospect for me.”

“But unfortunately the troubles seemed to follow me up, so I’m now standing up for what should have stood up for down there. I want people to be looked after by the government and have the freedom to make their own choices,” he added.

For Gray, it is important to march for independence. He said: “When it started out, it was a small band. But it’s growing and I think the more people that come, more people it will attract.”

“I don’t think it’ll be too long before there’s a very clear divide between the two [United Kingdom and Scotland],” he added.

Ruth MacLeod decided to march because she believes “Scotland is a powerful, strong country and it’s been dragged down by Westminster and controlled.” She said: “We are powerful enough to be free.”

Ruth MacLeod before the march begun. Photograph: Sofia Teixeira Santos

Ewan Lewis studies at the University of Stirling and he joined the march with a group of friends from Stirling. He said: “I support independence because I support membership of the European Union. It’s something that I hold very dear to my heart.”

“[These kind of marches] raise awareness for others that there is a cause for remaining within the European Union and becoming an independent nation,” he added.

University of Stirling students moments before the march begins. Photograph: Sofia Teixeira Santos

But not everyone was in support. In George Square, part of the procession route, anti-independence group A Force for Good staged a counter-protest. They were vastly outnumbered but were not deterred.

Alistair McConnachie, one of the directors of A Force for Good, said: “We are making a stand today for the British Union because we want to keep the United Kingdom together. If we were not here then who would remind people of the importance of our United Kingdom? It would seem as if the Scottish Nationalists owned the streets. We are here to show them that they don’t own the streets.”

Counter-protest organised by A Force for Good. Photograph: Sofia Teixeira Santos

“Britain is Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales joined together and we don’t want our country, Britain, broken off. This is part of our identity and we see our identity being attacked and taken away by the Scottish nationalists who want to take down the Union Jack,” he added.

Nicola Sturgeon said at the end of last month that she wants a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if the country is taken out of the EU. The Yes campaign lost by 45-55 in 2015’s vote, but it is thought that appetite for independence amongst the public has increased since the Brexit vote. This is evidenced by a recent Yougov poll which puts leaving the UK at just one point below remaining.

The March for Independence in Glasgow was the first of a series of events being organised by All Under One Banner taking place across Scotland between May and October of this year. Check out the rest of their plans here.

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