A Scottish independence march in Arbroath that was cancelled because of coronavirus is set to go ahead next year.
A 20,000 strong march was set to go ahead in April, but organisers All Under One Banner (AUOB) were forced to pull the plug because of lockdown.
The group has now lodged a notification to host a similar march on April 3 2021.
An estimated 20,000 people are expected to descend on the town for the event.
It is expected to start at Inchcape Park then traverse East Grimsby Street, Ladybridge Street, High Street, Hamilton Green, Abbey Street, West Abbey Street, Hill Terrace, Hill Road, King Drive and end at Victoria Park.
Councillors grilled AUOB members Neil Mackay and Andrew Wilson on safety measures at an Angus Council civic licencing meeting on November 26.
Covid-19 and social distancing were the main concern raised.
The pair said they will work with Police Scotland, who have no objections to the march, and Angus Council to ensure the event was as safe as possible.
Mr Mackay did remark that “absolute safety is not possible”.
Councillor Alex King reminded the committee that similar plans were approved for April 2020.
“I see no reason why we can’t grant these,” he said.
After some discussion on the minutiae of the march, licencing standards officer Lynsey Kimmitt felt moved to remind councillors of their role in the process.
The next March for independence #AUOB is on 3rd April 2021 at Arbroath. It is our intention that an uprising is required & must happen. We stand at the tipping point. Come the Spring the Scottish people must be out. We have the power to make Scotland ungovernable for the UK Govt.
— All Under One Banner (@AUOBALBA) November 20, 2020
She said: “This is a notification rather than an application so the decision isn’t to grant it. It is to decide whether to impose an order on it, either imposing conditions or prohibiting the march.”
The default legal position is that public processions can take place, but notice must be made to local authorities and Police Scotland.
A council can then decide to either take no action — which would see a procession go ahead as proposed — impose restrictions or prohibit it entirely.
Councillors decided on imposing a restriction that the march can only go ahead if Covid-19 guidelines allow it at the time.
2020’s clashing celebrations
They were told to work together on the marches.
The events would have also clashed with Arbroath 2020’s plans to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
Neither rival organisation have yet to lodge rescheduled plans. The Arbroath 202o group has promised to draw up a “fantastic programme” for next year.
Declaration of Arbroath
The cancelled 2020 march was organised to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
The historic document was signed on April 6 1320 in the Angus town.
It states: “As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
The scroll was due to be on display at the National Museum of Scotland earlier this year to mark the anniversary, but coronavirus prevented that.