Published: 14/11/2017 13:00 - Updated: 14/11/2017 11:14

Anger as traffic roars past during two-minute silence

Written byVal Sweeney

 

Remembrance
Servicemen with their heads bowed at Cavell Gardens in Inverness.

Thousands of people in Inverness and surrounding communities paid tribute to those who have died in conflict in a weekend of remembrance events.

In the Highland capital large crowds gathered for the main parade and service at the Cavell Gardens War Memorial on Sunday, although there was anger and disappointment from some that a two-minute silence and readings outside Inverness Town House the previous day - Armistice Day - was marred by the noise of traffic which was allowed to continue.

Bill Taylor, of Inverness, said he had attended to remember his great uncle who died at Passchendaele 100 years ago.

"I could hear none of the addresses, which was not helped by speakers having their back to the main audience," he said. "Nor was it pssible to know when the two-minute silence was being observed - the whole justification for the event, providing a few moments of peaceful reflection for the hundreds in attendance."

A spokesman for Police Scotland said it had recently written to local authorities advising officers would no longer regulate traffic at events, including religious parades and peaceful demonstrations, which had not been granted a temporary traffic regulation order.

Under current legislation police have the power to regulate traffic while dealing with emergencies or when crime is being committed.

It does not enable officers to regulate traffic for a pre-planned event, he said. This responsibility rests with the local roads authorities.

Ian Burnett, secretary of the Inverness branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS), was aware of the concerns but said his association was not involved in the organisation of Saturday's event, which had been arranged by Highland Council. A council spokesman said traditionally traffic had not stopped for this event but it was reviewing procedures for future years.

Saturday's parade included almost 500 veterans, serving military personnel, members of youth organisations and other dignitaries.

Mr Burnett said it was one of the biggest in recent years and was watched by an estimated 2000 people who lined the route.

"It was most impressive to see the number of people who turned up," he said. "Some people arrived very early.

"About half the parade included members of youth organisations – it is very gratifying to see them. I think the message is getting through about the importance of remembrance."

Other events over the weekend included the laying of wreaths at the monument in Station Square and on the graves of war heroes, including Colour Sergeant James Munro who won the Victoria Cross while serving in India in 1857. He died in the former Craig Dunain Hospital and is buried nearby.

A service and the laying of wreaths and poppy crosses also took place in Tomnahurich Cemetery.

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