They came to rebuild and refloat their dreams.

Waving a sea of Saltires, about 3000 people gathered yesterday at the Scottish Parliament to buoy one another and start the journey to the next independence referendum.

Organised by Melissa Moore, a "full-time mum" from Midlothian with no background in politics, the Voice of the People rally was one of many this weekend intended to raise spirits and maintain a sense of momentum for independence.

There will be another at the Parliament today by campaigners demanding a recount.

Marco Biagi, the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central, said voters had been "bought off" this time by a unionist vow of further devolution, but independence would come.

"Winning the argument but losing the vote is not a real defeat," he said. "True power has not been given back to Westminster, it has been lent to them and one day we will take it back."

Andrew Kinnell of the Scottish Socialist Party said the 45% vote for Yes was "a fantastic achievement for Scotland" because "45% of us rejected a system that can always afford to bomb people but can't afford to feed people".

He said: "The movement is not going to go away. Independence was only deferred last week."

With 70% of female pensioners voting No, Kate Higgins of Women of Independence asked people to "visit granny" and convert them for the next time.

She said: "It's not over. The dream will never die as long as we have gatherings like this."

There were huge jeers for the Labour Party. Disabled rights campaigner John McArdle of the Black Triangle group, who last week joined the SNP, said Westminster had "murdered" hundreds of people with welfare reforms started under Labour and continued by the Tory-LibDem Coalition.

Referring to Labour and the 2015 General Election, he said: "These people are the Red Tories and we must drive them out of Scotland. The Labour Party have betrayed Scotland. It's our task to return 59 MPs to Westminster who are all from Yes parties ... Red Tories out!"

Watching from the back of the crowd were 10 members and four generations of the McKail family from Little France in Edinburgh, led by James McKail, 63, and his wife Carole, 64.

James McKail, who reckons his relations contributed 99 Yes votes ("It's a big family"), said there could easily be another referendum within five years as social media had changing how people get information and how public opinion is shaped.

He said: "We had 1.6 million people voting Yes, and that volume and noise will never go away. We're here today to basically kick it off and start again.

"We know it's not going to happen overnight but we are going to continue this fight until Scotland is an independent country."

Carole McMcKail said: "I think this is brilliant. I think it's good showing the English that this has got to be done for all my grandkids."

The peaceful three-hour event, which also raised donations for foodbanks, included speeches, poetry, song, and messages of support from Dame Vivienne ­Westwood and The Proclaimers.

Carrie Todd of Performers for Independence led the crowd in We Shall Overcome, the anthem of the black civil rights movement in America.

One young male singer-songwriter offered a number called Forty-five with the opening line, "Alex Salmond, you are my hero".

More inventive was Nicola ­Simpson, 24, from Edinburgh, who adapted the Cornershop classic Brimful of Asha to get the crowd singing: "We've got the passion, we're the forty-five."

Sporting a "One of the 45" T-shirt, Norrie Stewart, 56, said the referendum had caused widespread distrust of the media.

"The genie's out of the bottle. People now question everything - everything they see in the papers and on television. That's not going to go away."

Next to him, Stuart McHardy, 67, a former presenter on BBC Radio Scotland, was scathing about his old employer, calling it a "state broadcaster" issuing "black propaganda".

He said: "The BBC has been quite disgraceful. I used to be proud, now I wouldn't p*** on them."

Her whole face painted as a Saltire, organiser Moore said: "If we keep referring to ourselves as the 45 we'll always be the 45. We don't want to be the 45. We want to be the 65, the 75."

She said she believed the ballot was rigged, and the true result was a Yes, but added: "My message to everyone now is don't dwell on that. Look forward and let's get independence another way. We're not going to get a revote or recount.

"As I said to people after the scenes in George Square, we don't want to fight with fists. You can fight with your heart and still be heard."