Scotland's Capital city saw a large demonstration against the Trident nuclear programme.
Trident is Britain's nuclear defence programme, this is from Wikipedia:
'The UK Trident programme is the United Kingdom's Trident missile-based nuclear weapons programme. Under the programme, the Royal Navy operates 58 nuclear-armed Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and around 200 nuclear warheads on 4 Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines from Clyde Naval Base on Scotland's west coast. At least one of these submarines is always on patrol as a continuous at-sea deterrent, armed with up to 16 Trident missiles and around 48 nuclear warheads (an average of three warheads per missile), although each submarine can carry up to 160 nuclear warheads with 10 warheads per missile.'
Prominent speakers that day included Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, MPs Mark Lazarowicz (Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith) and John Barrett (Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West), Rev Ian Galloway (Church of Scotland Minister for Gorbals, Glasgow), Alis Ballance (Dumfries and Galloway Scottish Green Party branch convener), Kate Hudson (Chair of CND – Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and Mike Kirby (Scottish convenor of UNISON – the public service union).
The protest assembled at the Scottish Parliament from around 11.00am and started marching up the Royal Mile at a about 11.30am. There were many colourful banners of groups all across Scotland including Renfrewshire CND, Clydebank Trades council unity, Socialist Labour Party Scotland, Berwick upon Tweed Justice not War, Scottish CND, Women in Black stand for peace, and Scottish Green Party Midlothian.
The march went up the Royal Mile along Canongate, the High Street, across the South Bridge and on to the George IV Bridge, down Victoria Street and in to the Grassmarket, a small area of the city south-east of Edinburgh Castle, arriving around 12.20pm.
There in the bright spring sunshine the assembled audience listened to speakers introduced by Scottish actor David Hayman (star of TV police drama 'Trial and Retribution').
The speakers spoke from atop a double decker bus which was used as a mobile stage. The bus was draped with banners saying 'Cut Trident not jobs' and 'Scotland's for peace'.
The first speaker was Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond who said that there was no defence logic for the Trident system and spoke of the irony of sending UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction when he could have been given a day return to the Clyde to find lots of WMDs at Faslane, the site of the UK's nuclear weapons.
The second speaker was Rev Ian Galloway who said that we had seen the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa and the Berlin Wall. He also said that peace is not a pious hope but that peace is a determined hope.
Third speaker Alis Ballance said she was speaking for mothers who had lost children in the recent wars. She also spoke of the possibility of a nuclear non proliferation treaty later this year.
Fourth speaker was Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz who spoke of the dangers of unaccounted for nuclear material as for example after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Fifth speaker was Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett who urged people to vote for anti-war parties at the forthcoming election (now expected in May 2010). He added that the Liberal Democrats would vote against Trident.
Chair David Hayman advised the audience not to vote for anyone who had voted for war.
Then Kate Hudson, chair of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), spoke and said the overwhelming majority of British people had rejected Trident especially young people. She stated that the people didn't want hundreds of billions spent on war.
Then Mike Kirby of public service union UNISON addressed the rally to talk about the corruption in politics and big business. Replacing Trident would waste billions of pounds of tax payers money.
Just before one O'clock broadcaster Lesley Riddoch (formerly presenter of 'The People's Parliament' on Channel 4 in the 1990's) spoke. She argued that the day will come when we will see the end of nuclear weapons. She also gave the attendance of the rally as being around two thousand.
The event finished just after one O'clock with songs led by Edinburgh based musician Penny Stone. She taught the audience a simple song which has three words meaning peace, in English, Arabic and Hebrew. 'Peace, Salaam, Shalom.' There was also a song called 'Bin the bomb' and the singing went on till around half past one when the rally dispersed.
In contrast to the anti-racism march in Edinburgh on Saturday February 20th the event had a relatively small police presence, though both marches were about the same size.
20 photos of the day are enclosed.
Here is how the event was reported on the BBC Scotland website:
Here is how the Sunday Herald of Sunday 14th March told it: