Thousands of protesters have marched through the east coast town of Ayr in Scotland in support of Scottish independence on Friday, despite last minute clashes with the local council, who consider the event an ‘unlicensed rally’.
Originally estimated to be reach more than 10.000 attendees, a police officer at the scene told Sputnik that the march had reached around 8.000.
It was the fourth march this year organised by the pro-independence group ‘All Under One Banner’. The turnout was enthusiastic considering all three Ayrshire constituencies voted to remain in the UK back in 2014.
The march was attended by a myriad of different independent groups assembling under one banner to deliver a clear message to Westminster.
Despite initial fears of dismal weather, it’s believed that the sunny day encouraged people to take to the streets in support of the movement.
It's to be a Beautiful ⛅ day today for the #AUOBAyr Independence March & Rally- so make sure you get yourself along, let's make this mightily Powerful, heralding the end of the days for the corrupt UK, and the welcome rebirth of our Independent Scotland🏴🏴🏴#AllUnderOneBanner pic.twitter.com/yBXDaVozzU— All Under One Banner (@AUOBSCOT) July 6, 2019
The protest was held in opposition to the Westminster government, as Britain remains in Brexit Limbo with no clear direction moving forward. Recent European Elections demonstrated a fundamental difference between Scottish politics and that of their southern neighbours.
The demonstration amassed at Low Green Park where there was an electricity and feeling of optimism in the air as the protestors took to the streets.
Shouts of "Independence now!" and "Scotland deserves better than Boris Johnson!" could be heard amid a sea of saltire and European Union (EU) flags.
Other's chanted "Where are the BBC?" referencing a lack of mainstream media coverage.
Despite both of Britain’s Prime Ministerial candidates adamantly denying the possibility of a second Independence Referendum from Scotland, the appetite for IndyRef2 is apparent amongst many people in Scotland.
When asked “Why now?” participants were happy to share their thoughts.
"I'm here because Scotland is being dragged to of the EU against its will," one protestor told Sputnik.
Another said: "I'd rather be a member of the EU than the UK."
With the 31st October Brexit deadline fast approaching, many of the protestors were quick to consider this the justification for an independence demonstration.
A counter protest from a unionist movement was also visible en route as the saltires of Scotland’s flag met with the red, white and blue of the union jack. Despite some jeering and heckling there were no physical altercations between the two passionate but disparate groups.
Twitter saw varying responses to the march.
Some posted to show their attendance.
Other online users tweeted in support of the demonstration, likening it to historical resistance to the British Empire.
When you march today, remember that most countries who won their independence from the British empire had to shed blood to do so. Not one drop has been spilled in Scotland's modern independence movement.— Lindsay Bruce (@RogueCoder250) July 6, 2019
Remember that, and walk tall with pride. #Democracy
MSP Ruth Maguire posted her best wishes to the attendees.
While others tweeted their opposition, calling the rally a "sham" and a "risk to public safety".
South Ayrshire Council admitting licences not permitted and a may be a risk to public safety. Amateur hour from this whole sham of a set up in afraid. pic.twitter.com/Bw0VyqeQgE— Barraabing (@barraabing) July 6, 2019
Others labelled it a "hate march".
The group hoped to expand their numbers with more protests planned over the coming year. The final event of 2019 is planned to take place in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, on the 5th of October.