Tens of thousands march for Scottish independence

GLASGOW, UK – Tens of thousands of people, many waving the Saltire flag and beating drums, marched through the streets of Glasgow on Saturday, May 5, in support of Scottish independence.

Police estimated around 35,000 people turned out for the 5-kilometer march from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green. Organizers "All Under One Banner" put the attendance around 60,000.

The annual march has been growing in size since Scotland voted against independence by 55% in 2014, from a few thousand to around 20,000 last year.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's nationalist First Minister, has threatened to hold a second independence referendum if Scotland's powers are curtailed after Brexit.

Keith Brown, one of Sturgeon's most senior allies who is standing to be deputy leader of the Scottish National Party in June, attended Saturday's march.

"I've been on these kind of marches for the best part of 35 years and I've never seen a crowd like this," he told AFP.

Brown suggested a second independence referendum could be held as early as 2019.

"We have to wait and see what Brexit brings and we will know that very soon – perhaps in October," he said.

"At that point, we need to make sure that we are working non-stop for whenever the referendum happens. 

"I have said it could happen in a year's time or two years time. The crucial point is that we are ready for it when it comes."

Veteran nationalist Bobby Watt, 73, brought his 13-year-old granddaughter Holly Noble to march.

"I joined the SNP in 1966 and now we're coming to a head," he said. 

"You could see on the march that it's the youngsters that are here so it looks good for the future."

Clutching a Scottish piper teddy bear, Elaine Thomson, 53, told AFP: "I'm not here campaigning for myself, because I don't think I'll benefit, but my grandchildren possibly could and I am out doing this for them." – Rappler.com