Thousands rally for Scottish independence

Sept. 21, 2013 at 8:39 PM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- First Minister Alex Salmond promised a fairer and more prosperous Scotland during a pro-independence rally Saturday in Edinburgh.

Thousands of people yelled "yes" when Salmond asked them how they plan to vote in next year's referendum, The Scotsman reported.

"For years this nation's resources have bankrolled Westminster. For 40 years they have told us we are subsidized, for 50 years they have polluted this country with missiles and bombs and told us it was all for peace. For a quarter of a century they have promised us progress, but delivered us the fourth most unequal society in the developed world," he said. "These forces are powerful. But look around, friends. Feel your strength. We gathered here are the change we wish to see."

Thousands of people marched to bagpipes to Calthrop Hill for the rally, the Scotsman said. Police estimated the crowd at 8,300, while organizers said it was far larger, between 20,000 and 30,000.

Recent polls have suggested independence is a cause that is not gaining traction with Scottish voters. Many Scottish residents have said they prefer to remain in the United Kingdom but with Scotland having some control over its own finances.

Under the current system, the Westminster government retains the power to tax as well as control over defense, security and foreign affairs. The regional governments in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland control most internal matters, including police, healthcare, the environment and education.

Salmond said independence would be a victory for the Scottish people, not for his Scottish National Party.

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