IT was due to be one of the highlights of the year for Scottish independence supporters, with thousands gathering to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Yesterday, despite the coronavirus lockdown, celebrations still took place with the help of a “digital rally”. The Round Table 1320 event, which was streamed live on various platforms, opened with Hollywood actor Angus MacFadyen – who has played Robert the Bruce on the big screen – reading the translation of the Declaration from Latin.

The rally – which began appropriately at 1.20pm – continued with a series of live music and performances, with images of recent pro-independence rallies also shown on screen.

The songs included traditional favourites such as Scots Wha Hae and the lyrics of one well-known tune were adapted to suit today’s world with “You cannae let your granny catch the bug”.

An “after-rally” live ceilidh event was also planned to be streamed online in the evening.

READ MORE: New film celebrating Declaration of Arbroath anniversary goes online

An All Under One Banner march and rally had been planned to take place in Arbroath yesterday, but it was postponed last month as concerns about coronavirus grew.

It is one of many live events which had been planned to take place to mark the anniversary of the Declaration which had to be called off. This included the first public display in 15 years of the only surviving copy of the famous document.

The famous Tartan Day Parade in New York, which was due to take place yesterday led by Scottish actor Brian Cox, was also cancelled due to the pandemic. However the organisers have now designated tomorrow as the first-ever Global Virtual Tartan Day.

A statement issued last month said: “On April 6, 2020 we want you to flood our social media accounts with videos and photos showing you in all your Scottish splendour. Post to our page or group on Facebook and tag us @nyctartanweek on Instagram and Twitter!

“Gather your pipes and bands and play your wee hearts out, record us a Celtic tune on your fiddle or accordion, sing or recite you favourite Scottish poem, recite your best Burns quote.”

Meanwhile, a new film was launched yesterday to mark the Declaration anniversary. “Declaration, the letter of liberty”, which was published on Vimeo, features interviews with historians and authors who discuss the significance and meaning of the text, as well as filming in Arbroath and Edinburgh.

The public participated by recording lines on recorded on mobile phones – including Cox who sent a contribution from New York. The project was made possible by funding from Euromillions lottery winner Chris Weir and includes an original score from Scots-born, Oscar-nominated film composer Patrick Doyle.

Producer Lesley Riddoch said contributors had “dropped everything” two weeks ago to get filming finished before the coronavirus lockdown.

She said the project was finished by working remotely with filmmaker Charlie Stuart and Doyle.

She added: “We have no broadcaster behind us, so we urge Scots to share widely and make sure the Declaration has a virtual 700th anniversary to remember.”

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