By a Newsnet reporter

The largest pro-independence march and rally to date has attracted thousands of people to Edinburgh to demonstrate their commitment to an independent Scotland.  Under the banner Independence for Scotland, Princes Street Gardens was awash with saltires and lion rampant flags as people from all over the country gathered to show their support for a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum.

Saturday’s rally was independently-organised and distinct from the official Yes campaign.  Rally organisers intend to hold similar events in the lead up to the referendum and have already announced plans for a similar march and rally this time next year.   

Figures from across Scottish society came together at the rally to celebrate the opportunities that arise from Scotland being an independent nation.  First Minister Alex Salmond and representatives from the SNP addressed the crowd, other speakers included former Labour MP and former independent MSP Dennis Canavan, independent MSP Margo McDonald, Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie, journalist Ruth Wishart, human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar,  author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish and comedian and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Addressing the rally, independent MSP Margo MacDonald said:

“If a third of Scots believe in independence and want independence now, every one of us has got two years to persuade another Scot, and then we’re home and dry.

“That’s not fanciful, that’s just practical.”

Respected lawyer Aamer Anwar, perhaps best known for his defence of Tommy Sheridan during his perjury trial, told the rally that the Olympics were over, and the Unionist parties should stop imagining that flag-waving will win the campaign for them.  

Mr Anwar added:

“I’ve spent most of my life believing in the Union and I no longer do.  I don’t want to be dictated to by Westminster.  I want a future for my children.  A future which isn’t one predicated by austerity for decades and decades.  I think the people of Scotland can govern themselves.”

Writing in the Scotsman about her decision to attend the rally, journalist Ruth Wishart said:

“I will vote Yes, and I will do so from conviction.  From the belief that Scotland, like many similar small nations, has the natural resources to survive and thrive.

“From the belief that taking control of our own finances and budgeting is not only the essential building block of a modern nation, but that it will finally kill off the persistent charges of whingeing jocks and subsidy junkies which cause unnecessary tensions between ourselves and our friends in the south.”

She added:

“However, the over-riding reason why I will come out loud and proud today is because I truly believe this to be a historic opportunity to shape the kind of nation we want our children and grandchildren to inherit and grow up in.”

Over the summer, SNP members – who have distributed Yes Declaration leaflets and postcards, and been involved in Yes Scotland street stalls the length and breadth of the country – have collected over 100,000 signatures for the Declaration.  This is a major milestone and contribution towards the Yes Scotland campaign’s objective of signing up one million supporters in Scotland for the Yes Declaration by the time of the referendum in autumn 2014.

Speaking at the rally, Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the SNP have already gathered over 100,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration, which was published when the Yes Scotland campaign was launched in May.

Mr Salmond said:

“We know that the most popular option for Scotland’s future is for the Scottish Parliament to make all the decisions, instead of leaving vital powers over the economy, social welfare and pensions in the hands of the Tories at Westminster – where they are presiding over economic stagnation, and making some of the most vulnerable members of society pay the price with cruel cuts.

“The challenge and the opportunity is clear – to translate this desire for democratic control in Scotland into a majority vote for independence in the autumn 2014 referendum.

“The momentum lies with the cause of independence and equality for Scotland. Already, the SNP have signed up over a hundred thousand supporters for the Yes Declaration, as the Yes campaign builds towards a million people by the time of the referendum.

“In devolved areas such as health and education, Scotland already has the powers to decide an independent policy from Westminster

“As a result, Scotland has led the way in the UK by introducing the smoking ban, we passed world-leading climate change legislation, we reintroduced free higher education in Scotland and have a record number of Scottish students at Scottish universities for the coming year, we have delivered 1,000 additional police officers, and our National Health Service is being protected and promoted.

“In all these areas, Scotland is governed incomparably better compared to the position south of the Border. The record of the last 13 years is that self-government is good for Scotland – and the lesson is clear.

“The only way to ensure that Scotland is governed well in all areas is by completing our home rule journey and voting Yes to independence in autumn 2014.”

Lothian and Borders police have confirmed that two arrests were made prior to the march after a scuffle between pro-independence supporters and a small group of members of an extreme far-right organisation who were reportedly waving a Union flag and swearing at marchers.

The Yes Declaration launched on 25 May is as follows:

“I believe it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

“Being independent means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.

“There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

“I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.”

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# Marga B 2012-09-23 00:13
Congratulations  ! And great photo.
# Leswil 2012-09-23 00:28
I was there in the midst of it AND have to say, that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when the marchers came into the gardens, they were magnificent, and really made me proud.
The organisers deserve a medal.

The speakers were all so passionate about a yes vote, it brought a lump in the throat.( though I would never admit it!)

I am truly proud of my fellow Scots this day, to me it is now clear, if we WILL it to happen, it will happen.

Regardless of all the manipulation we have to put up with from the Unionists.

I am more convinced than ever, WE WILL DO IT!
# Jiggsbro 2012-09-23 02:34
If you will it to happen, you WILL fail. To make it happen, every one of us has – as Margo McDonald said – to persuade another Scot. Every one of us has to spend two years countering the Unionist lies and scare stories with cold, hard facts and cool, calm argument. Every one of us has to demonstrate that we can rise above the level of the ‘No’ campaign and promote a positive case for self-government. Every one of us has to concentrate on what we can actually do ourselves, rather than complain about what we perceive is done to us. Every one of us has to represent, in word and deed, that we are not the chippy, resentful stereotype that the ‘No’ campaign will paint us as. Every one of us, when we identify as supporters of independence, has to ask ourselves if what we are saying and doing presents an image that would sway the minds of the undecided…and in which direction they might be swayed.

I hope and believe that we will make it happen. But it won’t be easy. It won’t be decided by anything as simple as only having two questions, forcing the devo maxers to vote ‘Yes’. It won’t be decided by complaining about every slight, real or imagined, from institutions respected by many Scots. It won’t be decided by telling ourselves how right our position is. It will be decided by those who have decided convincing the undecided. Decided Unionists will be working hard on this. We need to work harder.
# Old Smokey 2012-09-23 01:20
Any ideas as to exact number that attended? There has been various figures bandied about, with the BBC reporting ‘Lothian and Borders Police estimated that about 5,000 people took part in the march and rally'(…/…) Which I personally think is a lot less than the true figure. The exact same figure as the BBC is being stated by Scotland on Sunday and is being pounced upon by the unionist’s.
Looking at the pictures that were being sent and looking at the crowd in the Gardens, which appear to have spilled outside the arranged area, would estimate something around the 10,000 level
# Etrigan 2012-09-23 01:42
What a great day and a great turnout.I was at the very back of the march.It started to leave the Meadows at 12.
I left the Meadows at 12.45.
It was about 7 to 10 abreast. Any Maths students want to try and work out a count?
It was great to see all the onlookers taking pictures and smiling and waving. Most people had no idea about this.
Lets see what happens next year 🙂
# Jamieson 2012-09-23 12:23
Based on your timing and an average speed leaving the Meadows of around 1.5 mph that would give a march about 1 mile long. Was it that long? And a 5280 feet long march 8 abreast at say 4 feet intervals would give around 10,000 attending.
# Etrigan 2012-09-23 12:42
The first good look at the lenth of the march was at the museum. You could see all the flags didapearing down the mound.
When we arived at the gardens we were sent round the back of the band stand to enter at the other side. This gave us a great view of the crowd. It was very uplifting. This was also a real cross section of people.
# fend 2012-09-24 00:08
Being near the middle of the march, and having made a point of looking around on the longest straight section, I was never able to see the front or back. I therefore think at some point it stretched at least from the meadows to the foot of the mound. About 0.8 miles. It could have been longer.
# kingdavidofgovan 2012-09-23 01:46
Aye, the unionist camp has managed to formulate a devastating argument to finish us off once and for all; ‘the turnout was low’.

Now, if we accept that the official capacity of the bandstand arena is 12,500 and can see quite clearly that it was mostly full, then we are quite safe in putting the figure at around the 10,000 mark. My father was a steward at today’s event and counted around 100 bodies a minute for around 90 minutes giving him an on the ground estimate of around 9000. Any use of a figure significantly lower than these is a blatant example of deception and following a unionist agenda to discredit the clearly expressed confidence that a diverse range of Scottish society have in a new Scotland.
# Old Smokey 2012-09-23 01:55
I noticed in some picture the bandstand was full, with crowds going up the paths to Princess street
So basing on what youve said then it was easily 12,500 plus!
# PrideoftheClyde 2012-09-23 12:41
Agreed. It was an inspiring sight seeing a sea of people and Saltires. The police estimate does seem low. This website (…/… ) gives a good explaination of judging crowd numbers and also gives a possible explaination to why the 5000 number was given by the police. It really depends on which method was used. Would be interested to know which method the police used to estimate the crowd.
# Al Ghaf 2012-09-23 02:52
I remember the enthusiastic splash that in the media.

Indeed, Michael Moore’s dodgy public consultation attracted less responses than attendees at the independence rally but dominated the news for a week.

Do they think Scots button up the back?
# Jammach 2012-09-23 07:13
I believe we already do know the attendance count … Due to health and safety protocols insisted upon by Edinburgh council, entrance to the gardens was by counted groups of 200, so as to avoid any crushes on the stairs descending. There was also some coach parties which came in through the opposite entrance near castle street.

So, this accurate number was just shy of 10,000, 9,500 to be precise.

The 5,000 number, was an estimate from the mass of people in the Meadows. How do I know that? Well, I was standing next to a Bobby who made the comment to his fellow officer.
# Diabloandco 2012-09-23 07:40
It was a fantastic sight and a thoroughly enjoyable experience – it was a holiday weekend so many folk would have been away.
I’m so glad I made it even for a short while.
# hiorta 2012-09-23 08:08
Let’s not forget that we only insist on the same choices as so many other Nations – we are not trying to diminish any other country by doing so.
We have the right to self-determination and we will exercise that right.
We do not require a begging bowl to do so.
# From The Suburbs 2012-09-23 08:33
A tremendous occasion and well done to the organisers. Next time however more publicity and cut the number of speakers and musicians and limit rally to 90 minutes maximum as many drifted away after 30 to 60 minutes.

This allowed Laura Bitter Together of BBC tried to downplay the turn out to 3000 on TV news bulletin. McLetchie ridiculed the turn out but how many would the Tories get?

1.24pm: More on that skirmish from Eddie Barnes: ”At the back, what looked like three BNP activists had put up a Union Jack. I asked them who they were and they swore at me. Some in the crowd are worried they will be told to leave, thus creating a story. Others started shouting at them. A man in a kilt then ran forward to pull the flag down. The man holding the Union Jack then jumped on him before the police broke it up.”

Not how it was reported elsewhere as MSM never makes any connection between the BNP and the NO campaigners.

Jim Murphy even tweeted that “he had asked the SNP how many was at their rally”. Shows how out of touch Westminster MPs are with Scottish politics as this was not an SNP rally or even a yes rally but a grass roots initiative by ex Serviceman Jeff Duncan.
# Macart 2012-09-23 08:47
Seein’ as our fair and unbiased media saw fit to record heehaw, do we know if anyone filmed the speeches or indeed any part of the event? I’ve seen a number of Youtube snippets from camcorders and camera phones and a reasonable bunch of posted stills, but nothing else.

The pics and homemade videos don’t lie. There is no way in hell that procession was in the 3-5K bracket, double the upper end and you’re getting nearer the mark. Great when the evidence is there in living colour, isn’t it?
# Aplinal 2012-09-23 09:08
You might try TA of Moridura’s site. I think Peter has a short video from the crowd.…/
# Macart 2012-09-23 10:09
Thanks Aplinal

Some great contributions in that vid. Young Mr Grogan spoke well on behalf of Labour for Independence which augurs well for the future. Stirring stuff from Alex, Margot and Dennis. Hoping for a vid of Ruth Wishart to pop up soon.

Thanks again
# Ped 2012-09-23 08:57
I was there but didnt take part in the march, at the meadows end I guessed around 5000 too, but when down at Princess St, it seemed to be much more.

The reaction to the clowns on the grass with the union jacks looked a bit odd to me. They were just a wee pathetic bunch who looked a bit on the sad side. I couldnt understand why anyone reacted to them at all as it may have been better to have totally ignored them. Although it was funny seeing the young lass pulling their flags down, that could have lead to a much nastier incident and it should be remembered that everyone is watching.

All in all, I thought the march was a bit of a subdued affair, maybe next time organise the pipers and drummers along the length to generate some life into the proceedings? It was interesting anyway.
# DonaldMhor 2012-09-23 08:58
Given that the official capacity for the arena is 12,500 and the arena was stuffed full, the stewards were directing people who were still arriving in to the surrounding gardens. The 5,000 estimate is a joke, started by Eddie Barnes (The Scotsman) who I saw there looking like he was sucking on lemons. This was a fantastic success what ever way you want to look at it. Lets see the NO campaign try it?

# Soloman 2012-09-23 09:05
A great day out for all the family, the people standing watching looked on in amazement , I noticed that when the march was over some older peolple headed away, so they didn’t wait for the speakers but wanted to do there bit for Scotland! The guy who started Labour for Indy. Spoke very well and through down the gauntlet to Johan Lamontt!
# clootie 2012-09-23 09:07
I was a steward. The rally point was full before the rear of the march reached the lawnmarket. At least 8000 but I reckon closer to 10000
# Macart 2012-09-23 10:32
That’s brilliant clootie.

Trains next year? 🙂
# Clarinda 2012-09-23 09:20
I see well above the Yes Rally story the BBC Slabland on-line branch are reporting some dead whales washed up on a Scottish shore probably died due to following some sick individual. I leave political comparisons to your imagination.

Against bare facts and photographic evidence, that the unionists are deliberately contorting the attendance numbers strengthens the case for the growth of Independent thinking and understanding. Much to be done but we now have meteors and sunshine on our side.
# Soloman 2012-09-23 09:20
I meant to say that whoever the BBC had at the march ( I imagine their political opinionist, Brian Taylor ) canny count…….having said that I never saw one BBC logo …..
# Hirta 2012-09-23 09:35
Russia Today 🙂…/…
# Diabloandco 2012-09-23 09:44
You beat me to it – really good photos too!
# jaguar 2012-09-23 09:51
I was on the march and agree that the figure seemed to be more than 5ooo. However the seating capacity is stated at 1500 and 3000 as standing capacity.…/

We shouldn’t get too carried away. I know many did not stay for the speeches. I was more interested in lunch with my wife.

It was a great day and a good turn out. We all need to bring a friend next year.
# Clydebuilt 2012-09-23 11:12
Quoting jaguar:
We all need to bring a friend next year.

Aye we all SHOULD bring a friend….If we do they will need a bigger venue. The place was full as was the path round the arena.

I go to SPL games and based on viewing the crowds there I would put yesterdays attendance above the 8000 mark …..could easily have been much closer to 10,000

Bella Caledonia had a rep on BBC Scotland this morning about 9.45 re. the attendance he said that the police have “previous” on underestimating numbers at demonstrations, quoting the vast underestimate they made of the anti Iran war demos.
# bringiton 2012-09-23 10:44
From what I saw,a very rough estimate would be around the 10,000 number.
Apparently,the police as a matter of course always underestimate the numbers at these events.
The Tories are claiming 45,000 signed up to their campaign but have no plans to hold a similar rally.
The logistics of getting this number of people up from the home counties would be a nightmare.They would be better holding it in London.
# Glasgow 2012-09-23 11:01
I wasn’t there. I’ll be voting Yes.
# Ourchoice 2012-09-23 11:17
Was at the rally yesterday and it did my heart good to see such a turnout.A great day for Scotland.Like what Ruth Wishart had to say in particular .Does anybody have a transcript of what she said? This is my first post!
# brusque 2012-09-23 14:23
Quoting Ourchoice:
Was at the rally yesterday and it did my heart good to see such a turnout.A great day for Scotland.Like what Ruth Wishart had to say in particular .Does anybody have a transcript of what she said? This is my first post!

I wasn’t there, but I’m happy to be reading everyone’s thoughts on the March. Welcome to posting on Newsnet Scotland, I hope you will feel confident in joining in all the debates:-)
# forrabest 2012-09-23 19:49
#Ourchoice – Ruth Wishart published a statement on the Scotsman which covered what she said in her speech.
# GavB 2012-09-23 21:39
Quoting Ourchoice:
Like what Ruth Wishart had to say in particular .Does anybody have a transcript of what she said? This is my first post!


She had the same message in Scotland on Sunday I think,(not sure if it was word-for-word identical). She also has a write-up on the YesScotland site:…/
# Desperate Dora 2012-09-23 11:28
I was there and it was just brilliant! It was so moving to hear thousands of people singing Caledonia at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. And some of the speakers were very good. There was a good range of speakers and I thought Ruth Wishart did especially well. Other speakers were also very good, but they need to take a leaf out of Margo MacDonald’s book and learn how to engage and interact with the crowd more. All in all, it was very well managed, with a great atmosphere. You would never have felt a stranger in a crowd like that.
# ggreig 2012-09-23 14:19
My recording doesn’t do it justice, but I’ve uploaded Dougie MacLean’s performance to YouTube:…/

Also most of the performance by Gleadhraich, although unfortunately I missed “My Generation”:…/
# spagan 2012-09-23 11:38
Wish I had been there! Next year – bigger and better – let’s have another Festival/Feis!
# Seagetagrip 2012-09-23 12:03
Never mind the actual numbers.Everyone who was there were enthusiastic Independence supporters and activists from all over Scotland. That is why they were there. The public did not know it was happening until it did.
Two hours of GMS on Saturday morning and not a mention as far as I am aware.
The organisers need help with pre publicity as they will not get any from the print or broadcast media.
Anyway, for several hours the Capitals Main Street was awash with Saltires. It was wonderful just to be a tiny part of it!
# sneckedagain 2012-09-23 12:11
The figure quoted for the rally of 5,000 is demonstrably false.
Whether this is a lie worth establishing as such I don’t know.
The capacity of the area inside the railing at Princess Street Gardens -(1,500 seated, 3,500 standing) was full before half the march got there and there was at least the same again if not many more standing above that area. The capacity for the whole area is set I believe at 12,500 and that I would think is much nearer the mark.

Ruth Wishart and Allan Grogan were particularly good but Alan Bisset stole the show . He should have been on first
# Training Day 2012-09-23 12:31
I was there and I was very pleasantly surprised. For me the rally achieved what it was supposed to i.e. raise and extend awareness of the independence issue. Umpteen passers-by along Princes Street were asking ‘what’s going on here?’ and that’s surely a positive in engaging the uncommitted.

With more publicity and planning time next year’s event can be huge.
# IamSparticus 2012-09-23 12:50
I was there representing the YES Scotland East Ayrshire Group, we’ve still to have our launch but have it planned for the 4th November. If you want attend please sign the declaration and if you live in our area YES Scotland will be in contact.

I have to agree with the other posters in regard to the numbers, definately close to 10000 in attendence. Cracking day all round, well done to the organisers and lets work towards a massive crowd next year, one that the media can’t downplay or dismiss!

I noticed we had a lot of support from overseas as well with groups from Papadonia, Venice, Flanders and while I don’t know their politics it was good to see people who have a common cause of independence coming together in an event like the march.

Time to get working ladies and gents, like Margo said at the gardens, if every person committed to an independant Scotland convinces just one person of the benefits then it will be in the bag.
# McTim 2012-09-23 13:14
Was at the rally yesterday and filmed most of it. Alex’s speech (merely ok by his standards I thought) can be viewed here:…/

Margo’s speech (excellent, one of the best of the day) is here:…/

Will upload more videos as quickly as I can. Dennis Canavan, Ruth Wishart, Alan Bissett and more still to follow!
# Training Day 2012-09-23 13:24
..and just to add a comment saying well done to Allan Grogan of Labour voters for independence for having the courage to stand up to the dullards who lead his party. Great speech Allan and best of luck in your continuing efforts.
# Leswil 2012-09-23 13:46
Regarding your comments, so by definition to Will it to happen will lead to failure?
So then, to Will it not to happen will mean that it will happen?

My comment was how I felt and still feel.
It in no way suggests that I and everyone else will not be working hard to convince the unsure, but it does mean that I will have a even more positive attitude when putting the case.

I am sure you will have similar aspirations, and I hope we all will, as this is what will make a difference.

For myself along with the other things I will do for the cause, will continue to Will it to happen I cannot see a negative in that.
# Jiggsbro 2012-09-23 17:05
Quoting Leswil:
Regarding your comments, so by definition to Will it to happen will lead to failure?
So then, to Will it not to happen will mean that it will happen?

The former is not what I said, the latter is not a logical conclusion from either what I said or your interpretation of it.

I’m glad you’re going to do more than will it to happen. I’m glad you’ll have a more positive attitude when working to make it happen. But don’t be surprised if, when putting your case to the undecided, they respond to what you say rather than what you were thinking when you said it.

We cannot make this happen by willing it to happen and the unqualified assertion that we can is unhelpful, even if it was not intended. By definition, no one will be working towards a successful outcome who does not will it to happen. But it is the work, not the will, that will succeed. There is no negative in willing it to happen. There is a negative in assuming, or appearing to assume, that will is sufficient.
# nchanter 2012-09-23 17:29
Quoting Leswil:
Regarding your comments, so by definition to Will it to happen will lead to failure?
So then, to Will it not to happen will mean that it will happen?

My comment was how I felt and still feel.
It in no way suggests that I and everyone else will not be working hard to convince the unsure, but it does mean that I will have a even more positive attitude when putting the case.

I am sure you will have similar aspirations, and I hope we all will, as this is what will make a difference.

For myself along with the other things I will do for the cause, will continue to Will it to happen I cannot see a negative in that.

Never mind the rest of us understand what you meant, and where there’s a will there’s a way. ATB
# Jiggsbro 2012-09-23 18:03
If we think independence can be achieved by PMA and trite aphorisms, we’re sunk. Approximately two-thirds of Scots are not yet convinced, with two years to go. That’s a lot of work. An upbeat attitude may make the work easier, but soft, simplistic, ‘inspirational’ cliches risk complacency. Hard work will win this, not slapping one another on the back and congratulating ourselves on the number of chickens we’ll have when all our eggs hatch in 2014.

We could easily lose this vote. People will be swayed by lies and scare stories. People will vote the way their parties tell them to. People will vote – for and against – based on amorphous concepts of nationality, loyalty and duty. People will vote the way their granny would have wanted them to. People will support one result right up until the moment they have to put a cross in a box, then they’ll choose the other. People vote for all sorts of daft reasons and we have to work hard getting them to vote for good reasons. That won’t happen by pretending to ourselves that “where there’s a will there’s a way” and forgetting that there’s plenty of will on the other side.

Each of us has to be a Scottish ambassador to the UK. Each of us has to maintain an attitude of helpful, explanatory reasonableness when trying to convert the doubters. Each of us has to avoid the sort of complacent triumphalism that kneecapped Kinnock in 92.

Believe it will happen, by all means, but please don’t believe that belief is sufficient.
# Marga B 2012-09-23 13:50
Congratulations again.

And just to add a note of something that worked in Catalonia – mini-walks between one Yes group in one town or village to another with a Yes group for a get-together.

Over here we’ve also got “Towns for Independence” which have passed a motion stating they favour independence, which helps put the situation on the map. But it is a fun event and doesn’t ask too much of organisers or people involved, people just have a nice walk with the odd flag on show to a nearby town or village to meet up with congenial neighbours.

Don’t know if permission would have to be sought, but if not never know, it could catch on!

NOTE: And to be fair, there’s 2 nice photo series on the e-Scotsman today, really nice images, even though the article they go with isn’t particularly friendly.
# McTim 2012-09-23 13:54
Dennis Canavan’s speech:
# Robabody 2012-09-23 14:05
I had a look at the vids and the pictures and that’s definitely me in the middle!

Great day, and a great feeling to be part of such an event.

Thanks to all who organised it and attended. Now onwards and upwards……
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-09-23 14:25
An pictorial account of the day, with some lovely shots of these keen young Unionist scamps of the SDL.…/…
# GrassyKnollington 2012-09-24 13:20
You got a close up of the British contingent! Fantastic.

Hope our kilted pal who “took one for the team” is okay.

Had lots of laughs on Saturday. At one point when Margo was talking about defence a big dog started to howl and the guy behind me said “Dug here disnae like Margo’s stance on Nato.”

Apart from the lads supporting the union it was a really good natured gathering.

It may not have reached the dizzy heights of Jim Murphy and his Tory pals pals squeezed in behind a pasting table and photographing each other for twenty minutes before folding it up and going home but it was a lot of fun.
# Embra 2012-09-23 14:25
Awesome day yesterday, so proud of us all!…/large
# proudscot 2012-09-23 14:53
Great day in the sunshine and for a great cause, namely our country’s independence. We also appreciate the support we got from friends from the Basque country and Catalonia.

What a contrast between the aspiration and hope of yesterday’s marchers and the negativity of the unionists as expressed in tweets by the likes of Labour stalwarts against Scotland, Gordon and Murphy, and the snide comments of “Taxi” McLetchie. I take it Johann Lamont was again unavailable for comment, as per?
# gus1940 2012-09-23 15:31
BBC London and today’s London papers failed to mention the march and rally – at least the on-line editions I looked at.

You can bet that if they thought that the march and rally had been a flop they would have shouted it from the rooftops.
# mealer 2012-09-23 15:33
Excellent day out.Well done to the organisers.Next year we will need more pipes and drums.I thought all the speakers were good,but it went on too long,really.Three or four of the left-wing trade unionist speakers kind of covered the same ground too often.The bands were good,but we’ll need some real big names in the 2014 rally.The Proclaimers spring to mind.Be sure to tell your friends who didnt attend what a great day they missed out on.Cant wait for next year.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-09-23 15:39
I was there. Fantastic day. Not a protest, not a demonstration, just marching to show support for a YES vote in the referendum we’ve already secured.

I can’t count. I couldn’t tell you how many people were there, in numbers. I can only tell you the Ross Theatre (standing capacity 3000) was filled at quite an early stage, and police were directing people to the surrounding gardens area to the back and the side. I think there were quite a lot more people outside the arena than in.

What I do know is that however many that was, the venue (including surrounding gardens) couldn’t take many more. If the police had been anticipating more, they wouldn’t have authorised that route and venue. My impression was that the police were having to deal with more than they originally anticipated.

The organisers spoke at the start of a second, larger rally at the same venue next year, then moving on to a larger venue for 2014 as they thought this one would be too small. Even as that was being said, I was looking around and thinking, you’ll not be having a larger rally here, it’s not big enough. If they anticipate more next year, they’ll have to find somewhere else.

Yesterday afternoon I couldn’t imagine how anyone could spin that near-capacity turnout (meaning the gardens as well as the arena) in a negative way. Well, I’m wiser now I suppose.
# george davie 2012-09-23 16:11
Congratulations to Jeff Duncan & his team of organisers who managed to stage such a successful event.

The following should be remembered.

This was organised by a small group of volunteers.

There was virtually no coverage by the media.

The event wasn’t organised by the SNP or “Yes Scotland” movement.

In contrast, there is a resounding silence from the “No” campaign with regard to any rally they will be holding in the future. One would have thought that the “No” campaign with its huge funding from UK political parties would be holding rallies every other week.

I haven’t attended a march for over twenty years. This one seems to have created a certain amount of momentum.

To wait a whole year for the next one is far too long for me.
# steveb 2012-09-23 16:35
I agree that a year seems like such a long time to wait on another march.

It was a great day, great atmosphere and great people (apart from 3).

The number there was around the 9 thousand mark.
It should be no surprise that the numbers being bandied around by the usual suspects is questionably low. The next march will be far in excess of yesterdays. If we get 30,000 next time they will say 15,000, if we get 50,000 they will say 25,000,it would be a huge surprise if they told the truth.

Thank you to the organisers, job well done.
# Hillside 2012-09-23 16:30
Congratulations to the organisers for an excellent event. I was there for speeches, but not the march, so any estimate taken at the meadows wouldn’t have included me. I also noticed that the crowd gradually thinned out as the rally came to an end. I think some people had been on the go since early morning and needed some food! The BBC news website report is refreshingly positive (for the moment at least.
# UpSpake 2012-09-23 17:35
By any standards, a very great day. Every praise to the small group who organised this. Superb requisitioning of stunning autumn weather, brightened up an already splendid day.
There were many many cameras around recording this event. Very likely that the dependency media were taken aback by the size of the March and Rally and were very selective in what they showed if the even showed it at all.
I came to hear the speaches some of which were excellent and varied. I had intended to leave afterwards but had to endure the music in order to hear all the speaches. What the hell was the ‘Real Dubliners’, dire in the extreme.
Perhaps a little vetting of the acts might have helped or, segregate the speaches from the music altogether.
Re-iterate, throughly enjoyable day, maybe Murrayfield next year, much easier to guage the attendance given the absolute maximum seating capacity. Seats would be good after any march. Dwell on it.
# Hillside 2012-09-23 18:17
I agree that there were a little too much music. It would have been better to condense the speeches into 2 hours. But on the whole, a very well organised event. And Dougie MacLean’s slot was magical.
# McTim 2012-09-23 17:45
Dougie MacLean at yesterday’s rally…/
# Corm 2012-09-23 18:07
For me the whole thing has been overshadowed by the comedy to be had reading Jim Murphy’s virtual twitter meltdown over the numbers and evil cybernats.
# McTim 2012-09-23 18:09
Ruth Wishart’s speech at the rally. Please share this one in particular as this is one of the 3 or 4 speeches I imagine will sawy the undecideds to vote YES.…/
# mudfries 2012-09-23 18:20
What a great day it was, the speakers were brilliant and i enjoyed the music as well, apart from that guy calling himself “the reel dubliners” or something, what was all that about!!! how did he get on the stage? it was funny though.
# Briggs 2012-09-23 19:24
Good piece in the LA Times.…/…
# Marga B 2012-09-23 19:58
Also the Catalan press:…/

And this – the second mentions more than 10,000 attending and has a short video (it’s a quality e-newspaper):…/…
# Murray 2012-09-23 19:38
Fantastic! I wish I was there but I hope to go next year. I am certain we have already secured a YES vote.

I am sick and tired of people saying we will have to be responsible for Northern Ireland and to stop living off England’s welfare.. I can’t wait till we win independence and prove these people WRONG! We are better and stronger than they think.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-09-23 19:42
It was a brilliant day but its past now and the job for each of us is to persuade 4 or 5 or more people to go next year.
# scotswhahae 2012-09-23 21:52
Quoting ubinworryinmash  eep:
It was a brilliant day but its past now and the job for each of us is to persuade 4 or 5 or more people to go next year.

And I have done just that, I have FOUR ready willing & able and let’s add EAGER all ready to go for the next one… So many people just did not know this was happening. But so many MORE will by next year..Can’t wait.
# Caledon 2012-09-23 20:11
It was a wonderfully successful March & Rally. It did seem as if everyone enjoyed it, I know I did, immensely.

The organizers did a first rate job with limited funds.

A big thank you to them for a job well done!
# ramstam 2012-09-23 20:29
The next time you hear somebody saying “of course they dont have democracy in X country” just remember the lack of coverage for this significant rally on BBC etc! I thought part of the negotiations for the referendum was TV coverage. Today we have wall to wall saturation coverage of the Lib Dems English/Uk conference and we all know the SNP conference will get little coverage here in Scotland even from the “national” broadcaster, the BBC. We pay the same license stent as anybody in the UK. Salmond is right to declare that the BBC will be unnacceptable to an independent Scotland.
# McTim 2012-09-23 20:38
Scottish Labour MSP Allan Grogan gave a very good speech yesterday, and accused Johann Lamont and the party at large of abandoning their base.
# Diabloandco 2012-09-23 21:22
I take it the Scotsman has a death wish?
The comments under the article are hilariously spiteful – first time I have visited the site in ages , I reckon I “unregistered” about 2 years ago.
Might I suggest that we all follow suit???
after all ,every click gives them dosh.
# Hillside 2012-09-23 22:10
The Scotsman now shares it’s website (and many of the stories) with the Evening News. I stopped buying them both a number of years ago, the Evening News in particular because of their insistence on publishing the ‘opinions’ of a handful of idiots at the bottom of every major story. I will now no longer visit their web site for the same reason. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who thinks that any reputation these newspapers might have had is tarnished when they allow this sort of bile to appear under their masthead.
# weegie38 2012-09-23 22:16
I rarely visit the Scotsman website these days, and never log on to comment. Is it the only paper to do its own trolling?

Mind you, I still go there more often than the Herald website, which I have completely avoided since Gardham joined. Any newspaper with such a lamentable lack of judgement deserves to fall.
# sneckedagain 2012-09-23 22:22
I wonder why the unionists think that by talking about attendance figures they win any arguments. However.
The figure quoted, apparently by the police (who described the 100,000 in Glasgow who marched against Iraq invasion as 30,000) are demonstrably wrong and we should establish that.

The formal theatre area at the Princess Street Garden I believe has an official capacity of 5,000.(1500 seated, 3500 standing) It was full well before 12.30.
More than that again poured in till just after 1 oclock so I would put the figure at its height at about 11,000 or 12,000.
But I’m sure more than 10,000 were there.

It is fairly easy to establish this from the huge number of photographs now available.

We are now at the point where it would be very useful to expose the lies to the public.
I would ask the organisers to wait a few days, estimate the figures carefully and then publicly ask the police where they got the 5000 from.

It would be wise to make arrangements to have independent monitors accurately estimate the figures at these events in future
# Jiggsbro 2012-09-23 23:05
The police routinely underestimate numbers at protests, demos and marches. Even the ones that have their own independent monitors. It’s the police figure that makes it into the MSM. That’s how it is, and it isn’t going to change in the next two years. But you have it right in your first sentence: it doesn’t matter how many people were there. All that matters is how many vote ‘Yes’ in 2014. Although, if the Bitter Together lot could organise a march and it attracted more people, there’d be some interest in the comparative numbers. Fortunately, BT can’t even organise basic DPA compliance.
# McTim 2012-09-23 22:48
Aamer Anwar, one of the top lawyers in Scotland, speaks at the rally on 22 Sept 2012:
# Tocasaid 2012-09-24 00:29
Great day out and good to see support from other nationalities. Respect to the Basques who I spoke to. They have an event of their own in London soon to raise funds for one of their own struggles:…/…
# McTim 2012-09-24 01:09
Dear all, here’s the round-up of ALL videos I shot at Saturday’s rally.

if you haven’t managed to make it to the Rally on Saturday and want to catch up with what some of the speakers said, or are undecided on independence and need convincing still (in which case you should pay particular attention to Margo MacDonald, Allan Grogan, Ruth Wishart and Alan Bissett’s pieces), or if you’ve been at the rally and want to embed the videos below, here they are below.
if you could share the links with everyone else you know who wants to make independence happen or needs to be convinced, that’d be very helpful.

Cheers, and Saor Alba!


PS.: Any issues with the links, please let me know, but I tested and they should play ok for everyone.









# Dundonian West 2012-09-24 13:55
Thanks a million McTim for your Youtube links for the benefit of those who,like me,could not be there.
A big effort on your part. I know—-I upload on Youtube and at times it can be a marathon.

Particularly liked the AAMER ANWAR clip. He said it all so succintly. Johann Lamont and her Labour diehards should be placed in a room and told to LISTEN TO AAMER.

Perhaps,just perhaps,one person in that mythical room would open their minds and see the logic and the future.
Once again—thanks a million,and I WILL BE THERE NEXT YEAR.
# Angus 2012-09-24 07:51
It was a brilliant day, and I met a lot of people. Typical of AS to wander about the park and meet people. Was at the back of the march and we waited about 50 minutes from when the front left to when we left.
# Massacre1965 2012-09-24 10:03
It was a great day. Our car load will be a bus load next year. Well done to the organisers.
# derick fae Yell 2012-09-24 10:35
Trust your eyes. 11,984 counted by Clicker on the route, plus some that came to the rally only, including the disabled folks who came by bus.…/…
# gus1940 2012-09-24 11:32
Given that we are in the midst of the season of Equinoxial Storms (see today’s weather forecast) we were extremely lucky with the window of good weather we had on Saturday. Serous consideration should therefore be given to selecting another date for future marches and rallies.

Given further that it became obvious that Princes St. Gardens couldn’t realistically cope with many more people consideration should be given to alternate venues for future rallies and the assembly place and routes to the rallies.

The Meadows is an ideal Assembly Point and the only alternate suitable city centre place for a rally would be Holyrood Park and its proximity to The Parliament is appropriate.

As to a route for marches I reckon that the only one suitable and acceptable to the authorities would be Meadows-George IV Bridge-Candlemaker Row-Cowgate- Holyrood Road-Holyrood Park. Anything else would involve crossing The Bridges which would create too much traffic congestion.
# Willow 2012-09-24 13:01
The official number from Jeff is 9,500.

He has put out an urgent request for photos.

I had a great day.

When we arrived at the train station we were told “standing room only” I was delighted as as knew why & right enough the train was full of people in kilts or flagged up in one way or another.
Some folk who were geared up for the rally didn’t get on and had to wait for the next train.

(Jeff announced that there would be trains organised for next year)

We got a taxi to the meadows & the taxi driver didn’t know anything about it, that’s how top secret the media kept it!

I’ve not been too well so I didn’t expect to stay for long but I managed to stay till half four, must of been all the good spirits around me that kept me going. The buzz was amazing! There was even a saltire in the sky at one point!

Well done to Jeff Duncan & his team, they did a great job.

Ot Is David Torrance looking for a job with channel 4??
# WRH2 2012-09-24 13:17
I like Marga B’s idea of mini Independence Walks from one village to another to meet up with other Indpendence groups. This might be a good idea to try out in our rural areas.
# nchanter 2012-09-24 13:25
To all you posters in here I have to tell you there was no rally. Yes I had the same dream so, I checked the DR and the P&J;, there was no mention of it . So it was all a dream. Sorry.
# Wullie B 2012-09-24 13:48
How about Easter Road as a venue as the turnstyles would give numbers of a true attendence and I would think more people will go to the next marches as Independence grows closer then MSM would have no way to dispute the numbers so a close season march would probably be better
# heraldnomore 2012-09-24 14:36
Bloody Hell. I haven’t had a dream like that since was 16. Can we do it again?
# wakeup 2012-09-24 14:53
wish I had been there but maybe the next time. What an atmosphere on video. Come on fellow Scots you can do it.
# Silverytay 2012-09-24 14:56
Unfortunately due to it being the holiday weekend I was out of the country and missed what looks to have been a fantastic event . I would just like to add my best wishes and thanks off a job well done to the organisers of the march . I hope to be at next years march and after hearing the reports on this years march I am sure that many like me will be determined to make the next one .
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-09-24 15:48
I spotted myself in the first minute here and it took me 15 minutes to join the March.…/
# GrassyKnollington 2012-09-24 16:57
and to think poor Cllr. Alex Gallagher only saw two flags….shoulda gone to specsavers.
# exel 2012-09-24 16:13
“The people of Scotland will need a lot more than rallies and polls to convince them.

When do the public meetings in villages and town halls across the country start?”
# Breeks 2012-09-24 17:28
Did you catch what Marga B said? The Catalans organised walks where groups from different villages and areas would meet up and have mini rallys to recieve the wlakers from different areas. I can see that working in Scotland too, it’s just a question of organisation and coordinating ideas, but it does build momentum as groups of Yes voters come together….
# Willow 2012-09-24 18:31
Don’t know why my last comment wasn’t published??

I won’t bother re-writing it.

Jeff Duncan did an amazing job, he’s put out an urgent appeal for photos.
# sneckedagain 2012-09-24 18:36
There is obviously enough material to make up a DVD of the march and the best of the speeches.
Physically these only cost a few pennies and properly produced are better than leaflets
Every household in Scotland should get one – particularly for our young folk.
I think Ruth Wishart’s speech could be mould breaking
# Leswil 2012-09-24 22:56
Here is a section of an well known american ezine that you may like to read.

“It’s the locally grown solution to one of America’s most debilitating problems: Obese government.

At this stage, there’s no diet that will return us to a healthier size.

The only honest option is to begin separating from one another and to return to a more-pure form of democracy, where government is smaller and responsive to local needs, and where voters know their voices are heard.”

Sounds rather familiar don’t you think!
# MAcandroid 2012-09-25 10:07
I enjoyed the event immensely and I will be back the next two years – and then on the rallies we will be having to celebrate Independence Day !

Some images from the day:…/. Feel free to download, print off, etc.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-09-25 10:27
Great photos MAcandroid, some of the best I’ve seen of the day. Thanks for sharing.
# Louperdowg 2012-09-25 11:25
Have you ever seen so many swivel eyed nutters in the one place at the same time?
# gus1940 2012-09-25 12:02
You have been looking in the mirror too often
# MAcandroid 2012-09-25 13:28
# Breeks 2012-09-25 12:16
Come on Louperdowg, there were only three of them, and despite the foul language, they weren’t really a threat to anybody.
# brusque 2012-09-25 13:52
Quoting Louperdowg:
Have you ever seen so many swivel eyed nutters in the one place at the same time?

Labour Party Conference?

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