Edinburgh AUOB independence march organisers say 250,000 expected to attend

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The organisers of a pro-independence march in Edinburgh say they expect the march to be their biggest one yet, with up to 250,000 forecast to take part.

Thousands of pro-Scottish independence marchers are expected to gather at Holyrood Park on Saturday, 5 October, before making their way through the capital's Old Town en route to the Meadows.

Branding the march a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for independence supporters, rally organisers All Under One Banner (AUOB) say they anticipate up to 250,000 people will participate, making it by far the biggest march the voluntary group has hosted yet.

A previous AUOB march through Edinburgh attracted around 20,000 people, officials estimated. Picture: TSPL

A previous AUOB march through Edinburgh attracted around 20,000 people, officials estimated. Picture: TSPL

READ MORE: 'Embarrassing' plans for counter Edinburgh Scottish independence march in opposite direction to AUOB event halted

Speaking ahead of the march, Neil Mackay, founder of AUOB, said: “If people haven’t been before, what a first time to come along. It’s going to be the biggest one yet. We’re expecting at least 100,000 but more likely 250,000 will attend. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

This year's march will begin at Holyrood Park at 1pm, before making its way up the Royal Mile, then on to George IV Bridge and ending with a rally at the Meadows, where there will be speeches and live entertainment.

Controversy erupted earlier this month as it emerged that former AUOB operations director Mandeep Singh, who had been "expelled" from the group, was planning to hold a different march in support of Scottish independence through Edinburgh on the same day.

Mr Singh's counter-protest plans, which were labelled "highly embarrassing" by AUOB, were abandoned following fears from the police and council officials that holding two marches simultaneously would lead to public safety issues as well as further traffic disruption.

Although not officially endorsed by the SNP, senior Nationalists have taken part in several AUOB marches in the past.

A previous AUOB march in Edinburgh last year was, according to organisers, attended by around 100,000 people. However, official City of Edinburgh Council figures released by Police Scotland put the number in the region of just 20,000.