THE Granite City’s grey streets were transformed at the weekend by a sea of Saltires as thousands of people marched in support of Scottish independence.

Police Scotland estimated the number of marchers at between 4000 and 5000, but organisers said the total was at least 12,000.

Participant Bobby Stewart said: “The square at the end of the march takes 2500. We were a third of the way down and when we got there we couldn’t get in.”

Good humour was a feature of the day with one banner taking a dig at Tory MP Ross Thomson.

The message emblazoned on the banner, which read “Ross Thomson – failing Aberdeen South”, brought a smile to many faces as did a plaque saying “Back Door Boris – first UK Prime Minister to leave Bute House by the back door”.

The crowd maintained the high spirits, despite a heavy downpour after they set off, with many chanting “hey, hey, hey ho, Boris Johnson has to go”.

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Facebook messages later praised the Aberdonians for their warm welcome to those who travelled to the city for the day.

“It was a fantastic day – well done Aberdeen,” said Stewart McNally who joined the Yes Bikers for the event.

“Great turn-out and a great atmosphere. One word – optimism!” said marcher Iain Richardson.

Veteran independence campaigner Muriel Jaffray led the march through the streets to a rally with speakers from different Yes groups along with anti-nuclear and environmental activists.

It is the first time an All Under One Banner (AUOB) march has been held in the North East. Further events are planned for Perth and Edinburgh in the near future.

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An AUOB spokesperson said: “It was a fantastic day in the Granite City, with a massive turnout from people across the North East of Scotland and further afield.

“There was a real mix – with older and middle-aged people and lots and lots of younger people.

“It was a beautiful sight when it went down through Union Street, covering the length and breadth of it.”

He added the march sent a clear message to the UK Government.