/Vigils and celebrations as Scots mark Brexit day

Vigils and celebrations as Scots mark Brexit day

candlelit vigil in EdinburghImage copyright
Reuters

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An event named Missing EU Already is being staged outside the Scottish Parliament

Candlelit vigils are taking place across Scotland as part of a series of events marking Brexit day.

Organisers of the Leave a Light On gatherings are inviting people to join them to mark the “sad occasion” of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Meanwhile supporters of Brexit are being invited to celebrate the moment the country leaves the EU in Glasgow’s George Square.

Scots voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

The overall UK result backed Leave by 51.9% to 48.1%.

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Getty Images

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The Edinburgh vigil was among the first to get under way

In Edinburgh, a Missing EU Already rally is taking place outside the Scottish Parliament. It is organised by the Edinburgh Yes Hub, which backs Scottish independence.

The BBC’s Lorna Gordon said there were cheers from the crowd as the Scottish government’s Brexit minister, Mike Russell, told supporters the only way Scotland could rejoin the EU was to become an independent nation.

“This is the start of something, not the end”, he said.

Former SNP MEP Alyn Smith, now a Westminster MP, said: “We are a European nation and we want to remain a European nation.”

SNP MPs Joanna Cherry and Tommy Sheppard are among the other speakers lined up, and organisers plan a candlelit vigil and a farewell march with EU flags on display.

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Pro-EU crowds gathered in Edinburgh

Similar events are expected to take place in Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling, among other locations.

Ahead of the vigils, Brexit day was marked in Glasgow at one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

The red and white traffic cone normally seen on the statue of the Duke of Wellington was replaced with a headpiece adorned in the colours of the EU flag.

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Mark McGillivray

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Glasgow’s famous Duke of Wellington statue was sporting a cone adorned with the colours of the EU flag on Brexit day.

Pro-EU campaigners in the Glasgow are expected to gather at the Donald Dewar statue on Buchanan Street at 22:30 for an event organised by Glasgow Loves EU.

During the torchlit gathering, they will sing Ode to Joy and Auld Lang Syne when they will remember their “auld acquaintances” from across Europe.

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Pro-EU demonstrators gathered outside Marischal College in Aberdeen

“We will always be Europeans, and we are determined to keep our links with Europe strong and are keen to celebrate what unites us”, the group said.

SNP MPs Alison Thewliss, Alyn Smith, Philippa Whitford and Kirsten Oswald are expected to attend, along with Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

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Getty Images

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The Brexit vote sparked pro-EU protests in Scotland

In nearby George Square, pro-Brexit group A Force For Good plans a “celebration” from 22:30, with attendees urged to “bring your flags and friends”.

In a Facebook post, they said it would be an opportunity to meet “like-minded people who are so glad that Britain is finally going to be independent”.

During Friday afternoon, a group of about 50 pro-EU demonstrators gathered outside Marischal College in Aberdeen.

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Getty Images

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A Force for Good has staged smaller counter-protests to the large Scottish independence marches

Earlier First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said many Scots felt a “real and profound sadness” which was also tinged with anger, at the UK’s departure from the EU.

Two Scottish government buildings, St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, will be lit in the blue and yellow colours of the European flag to mark Brexit day.

The EU flag will continue to fly at St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, as well as at Scotland House in Brussels, and at Holyrood after MSPs overturned a decision to take it down.

And in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, a Brexit tree will be planted to mark the date of the UK departure from the EU.

Arts organisation Deveron Projects said the weeping willow had been chosen as it embodied “notions of both sorrow and healing”.

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