A MAJOR pro-independence march is set to be staged in Edinburgh this weekend, with thousands expected to descend from around the country.
Police are planning for traffic disruption as the March and Rally for an Independent Scotland begins in the Meadows and then heads to Princes Street Gardens.
The event, which is not an official part of the Yes Scotland campaign, will see speakers including First Minister Alex Salmond, Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, and Patrick Harvie, the leader of the Scottish Green Party.
Ahead of the event, Ms McDonald said: “My job as an independent is to point out that you don’t have to be a member or supporter of the SNP to want independence for Scotland. The game is all to play for, for all of us.”
Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli, lawyer Aamer Anwar and representatives from groups such as Scottish CND, Labour for Independence, Young Scots for Independence, West Lothian LGBT and Citizens Against Public Service Cuts have also been confirmed.
Organiser Jeff Duncan told the Evening News: “It’s a unique event, pulling lots of different people together under one umbrella.
“Everyone has their own vision of what independence for Scotland means to them, which is reflected in the comments many of the speakers have already posted on our website, and there will be an opportunity for all those different messages to be reflected.
“This is the first of three marches. We’ll be holding another one on almost exactly the same day next year and we’re hoping to quadruple the numbers we get tomorrow. Then in September 2014 we’ll be holding what we expect to be the largest march.”
He added: “We know there are going to be thousands coming along based on the number of seats we have sold on the coaches, but there are also those organising their own transport. Plus we imagine plenty of people already living in Edinburgh will attend, so we can’t really put a definite number how many will actually be marching. Only Saturday will reveal that.
Police said Lauriston Place and Potterrow would be closed between 11.45am and 1.15pm because of the event. Market Street will be closed to westbound traffic with no exit onto The Mound, and traffic will only be able to exit Chambers Street southbound. For more information about the route of the march visit independenceforscotland.com/route.html