Hundreds of people have taken part in protests in Scotland in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote.
Demonstrators took to the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow to show their support for migrants and protest against the “torrent of racism” they say was “unleashed” during the referendum campaign.
It comes after the UK backed leaving the European Union in Thursday’s ballot, while Scotland opted to be part of the EU by 62% to 38%.
In Edinburgh, protesters gathered outside the Scottish Parliament, where a number of speakers addressed the crowds at the open mic event. A similar demonstration took place in Glasgow’s George Square.
An online posting promoting the Edinburgh rally, under the heading “After the Referendum, Defend all Migrants,” stated: “The EU referendum has unleashed a torrent of racism.
“Unabashed, unchecked racist and xenophobic hyperbole has dominated the entire campaign, with migration being defined as a ‘problem’, or ‘crisis’, with bigotry being stoked up against migrants, and with EU citizens living here being systematically denied a voice.”
It went on: “We need to take a stand against this – migrant or non-migrant, we stand together as friends, lovers, work colleagues and members of our communities.”
One of the speakers at the event, Willie Black, said various groups were involved in the demonstration.
He told Press Association Scotland: “We will prove over and over again that we are not racists and we will fight against racism.
“We are united and we are going to build this movement from Scotland into England to show people that an alternative is possible, a world where people can live together.
“I think what we’re saying to the rest of Scotland is we have to be a beacon again for progressive poliltics.
“We’re going to show on the streets of Edinburgh that people won’t accept any kind of idea that people can be deported or chucked out of this country.”
The demonstration – reportedly organised by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts Scotland, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities and Scottish Labor Young Socialists – took place just hours after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that a second vote on Scottish independence is “highly likely”.
One protester, Tara Berserker, 32, said she favored a second referendum on independence.
She said: “I’ve been here for 11 years. This is my home, my husband is Scottish and I just love it here. I’m just so devastated about what’s happened today. I don’t like it at all.
“Personally I think the best option is a second referendum for Scottish independence and for Scotland to leave the UK and rejoin the EU.
“I was for independence the first time around and quite a few of my friends voted against it because they were afraid Scotland would be kicked out of the EU. Now we’re not EU any more, so the only way is for Scotland to be independent.”