Thousands march for independence in Oban

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Thousands of people marched through Oban in support of Scottish independence on Saturday in what was said to be the ‘biggest political  event the town has seen’.

A sea of saltires made their way from Atlantis Leisure, through George Street, before stopping at Mossfield, where a rally took place.

Organisers quoted the number of people taking part as 7,000.

Fronting the march was Oban’s Fiona Ferris and Benderloch’s Campbell Cameron.

A counter-demonstration also took place during the march, consisting of a 50-something strong group of protesters holding union jacks, equipped with a microphone and a speaker.

At the rally  in Mossfield, musicians and speakers entertained the crowd.

MP for Argyll and Bute, Brendan O’Hara addressed the crowd, saying: ‘Welcome to yes town.’

Speaking to The Oban Times, Mr O’Hara said: ‘I thought it was a remarkable turnout – 7,000 people paraded through Oban.

‘What I loved; it was happy, a carnival atmosphere, it was colourful, but it was inclusive. No one was excluded, from pushchairs to pensioners.

‘It is really important that Scotland is not just seen as the central belt. Every part of Scotland can build a better future. It is important that places such as Oban, Campbeltown, and other towns of that size get to be part of it.’

The MP added: ‘I made a point of singling out English Scots for Yes – it is not about where we are born or where we come from, it is about where we want to go together.’

The rally was particularly special for Fiona Ferris as it was the first public hearing of a song her dad wrote for a competition calling for a Scottish national anthem.

The Bluebells Still Will Sweetly Bloom, written by Colin Campbell, who died in 2015, was met with a positive response when it was played on Saturday after the march.

Fiona refreshed the lyrics, originally written by the town’s Jean MacDonald, and recorded it with her husband Tam as lead vocalist.

Tam and Fiona Ferris at the rally on Saturday. 17_T25_IndependenceMarch07
Tam and Fiona Ferris at the rally on Saturday. 17_T25_IndependenceMarch07

Speaking after the song was played, Fiona said: ‘It was a proud moment. I feel there was a very positive reaction.’

Fiona has since put the song on YouTube.

She added: ‘We are not planning on selling it. I want it to be popular and I would like other musicians to pick it up and play it. I have it written for bagpipes and if anyone wants a copy, I have that.’

Tens of thousands of people have since watched The Oban Times’ live video of the march coming down George Street.

The independence march live from Oban

Posted by Oban Times on Saturday, 15 June 2019

The event was organised by an organisation called All Under One Banner. Posting after the event, the organisers said: ‘At least 7,000 participants on the March for Independence at Oban today, well done everyone and well done Scotland.’

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘The priority for the council and our partners was to ensure the march and rally was conducted in a safe and orderly fashion. This was achieved.

‘At the end of the event, the organisers cleared Mossfield Stadium of equipment and rubbish leaving it ready for the next day’s shinty match.’