In the wake of the UK’s Brexit decision, nearly 4,000 people gathered outside of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening to demonstrate their support for staying in the European Union.
While the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU by a narrow 51.9%, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, with 62% of the vote. Since the referendum, the Scottish Government — led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon — has sought high-level talks with European officials, with an eye to keeping Scotland in Europe.
The rally took place outside of Parliament, in the shade of Edinburgh’s iconic Salisbury Crags, and featured a number of speakers with one uniting message: Keep Scotland in the EU. Many of the banners and chants from those present illustrated the renewed desire for Scottish independence, which has been reflected in a slew of post-Brexit polling.
As well as speeches, a piper and a full choir led the crowds in a rendition of Ode To Joy, the official anthem of the European Union.
“Our first minister is in Brussels right now, arguing on our behalf, putting our arguments forward, [and] standing up for Scotland,” Christina McKelvia of Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee said during the event.
“What’s Boris doing? Nothing. What’s Nigel doing? Nothing. what’s Theresa May doing? Repealing the Human Rights Act, that’s what she’s doing. An exit from Europe is an exit from the European Convention of Human Rights. As the new convener of the equalities and human rights committee in [the Scottish Parliament] I say over my dead body!
“If you stand with us, your elected parliamentarians,” she added, “we stand with you, and together Scotland will remain.”
Once the main proceedings finished, the event descended into a mass ceilidh.
The rally came to a close on a major day for Scottish politics, during which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with various EU MEPs, including President of the EU Commission Jean Claude Juncker, and EU Parliament President Martin Schultz.
Despite the Brexit vote last week, the UK has yet to officially announce its intention to leave the European Union.