YES supporters gathered in Edinburgh on Saturday to voice support for Scotland’s place in the European Union as an independent country.
The rally held by Yes for EU took place at the capital’s Mound Precinct and featured speeches from Stirling SNP MP Alyn Smith, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp of Believe in Scotland and former MEP and Green councillor Jule Bandel.
Scottish author Sara Sherida whose work includes ‘The Fair Botanists’ also spoke at the rally.
Addressing the crowd, Stirling MP Smith said that independence was not as much about “cultural identity” as it was “democratic accountability” and an opportunity for Scotland to “make cause with our friends in the European Union”.
He went on to say that he was “deeply proud” that Holyrood had voted to make voting entitlement in Scotland based on residence rather than nationality.
He added: “Our definition of Scottish, from the bottom of my soul, is if you’re here, you’re one of us. Where you’re from is your story, if you’re here you’re part of our community now and part of our community into the future.
“Let’s build that better community together with independence in Europe.”
Around 400 activists braved rainy conditions in the capital while a sister rally, organised by Grassroots for EU, took place in London which highlighted the failure of Liz Truss’s plan for growth, in comparison with the EU economy’s performance.
The day of action was set to mark one year until the Scottish Government’s date for indyref2.
Believe in Scotland said “there can be no stopping, no pausing. From now on we campaign until independence is achieved”.
He said: “They talk about Europe as if it’s somewhere else, it isn’t. We’re in Europe and I’m really proud to be part of the most pro-European party in these islands.
“The SNP have a really clear and energising vision of an independent Scotland back in the EU, forging common cause with our friends and colleagues.”
He went on to say that an independent Scotland in the EU would be “good for progressive politics in England as well”.
He added: “An independent Scotland and independent Ireland in the EU will keep the UK closer to the European mainstream.”
Mentioning the rally in London he said that there were “good chunks” of people in England that wanted to re-join the EU.
He continued: “I do want to reach out to them. I don’t think we should forget about them. It makes me sad that they have been comprehensively let down by their politicians.
“Labour wants to ‘make Brexit work’. Brexit is the big lie, You can’t make Brexit work.
“If you want to get back into the EU, and we do, independence is the way to do it.”