THOUSANDS of supporters of Scottish independence have gathered in the centre of Glasgow following a march through the city.
The march began in the west end and followed a route through Charing Cross and Sauchiehall Street towards George Square.
Campaigners waved Saltire flags and banners aloft as they wound their way slowly towards the rally in the city’s heart.
They were also joined by dozens of motorcyclists – described to the crowds as “Yes bikers” – who revved their engines at intervals in support of the march.
One of those who addressed the crowd was independence campaigner and blogger Paul Kavanagh.
He told Press Association Scotland: “An official independence referendum hasn’t been called yet and it’s some way down the line before it actually takes place.
“But it’s really important that we start campaigning now for independence because we have to be ready for it when it happens.
“The last independence referendum was described constantly as (former first minister) Alex Salmond’s referendum, the SNP’s referendum, but we can’t win an independence referendum on the basis of party politics. It has to be a national movement and that’s what we’re doing here today.
“There are people here from all sorts of different parties. What we’re trying to do is shape the next independence referendum so that it’s a referendum for the whole of the people of Scotland.”
The campaign comes in the month after the EU referendum result, which saw the UK as a whole vote to leave the EU, but Scotland opt to stay in.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that difference makes another vote on Scottish independence “highly likely”.
Mr Kavanagh, who praised the turnout at Saturday’s event, said: “Scotland voted by a larger majority to remain a part of the EU than it did to remain part of the UK and yet that majority can be completely discounted.
“If we want democracy in this country, if we want a government that is actually representative of what the people of Scotland want, the only way to achieve that is with independence. We’ve been let down far too often by the British state.”
Bailie Eva Bolander, SNP councillor for Glasgow’s Anderston/City ward, was among those supporting the event.
She said: “I think the turnout is fantastic, it’s fabulous. I do believe Scotland’s best future is being independent.
“(The campaign) has of course got a new impetus after the EU referendum because Scotland is completely different from the rest of the UK.
“Scotland is welcoming EU residents like myself and wants to have the connection with the EU to continue, and have an input into the EU in respect of policies.”
Activist Jason Baird said the event was about getting ready for any future independence referendum campaign.
“We’re here because there’s a massive groundswell for independence in Scotland,” he said.
“The last time we started at 30% and we ended at 45%. The No campaign started at 70% and ended at 55%. There was only one winner in the last campaign and it was the Yes movement and the Yes movement will do exactly the same thing again.”
The event was organised via social media by campaign group All Under One Banner, which later described it as “our biggest and best independence march ever” in a Facebook posting.