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Tens of thousands of Scots march in Glasgow to demand second independence referendum

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By Sandrine Amiel  & EFE, Reuters
All Under One Banner March for Independence on May 4, 2019
All Under One Banner March for Independence on May 4, 2019   -   Copyright  ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP   -  

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Glasgow - the largest city in Scotland - on Saturday (May 4) to demand a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom as polls suggest support for secession is at a peak of the past four years.

Organisers said they gathered a record 100,000 protesters, just ten days after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to hold an independence referendum before May 2021, without permission from London.

Reached by Euronews, Scotland's police said they counted an estimated "30 to 35,000" protesters in the Glasgow Green area, where the demonstration was taking place. No incidents were reported, police said.

Scotland, England's political partner for more than 300 years, rejected independence by 55 to 45 per cent in a 2014 referendum.

But Brexit has soured relations between north and south, partly because most Scottish voters wanted to remain in the EU in contrast to the result of the vote in Britain overall.

The march was organised by All Under One Banner, a group created in 2014 "with the mission objective of staging public processions for independence at regular intervals until Scotland is free," according to its website.

Speaking to EFE news agency, organiser Manny Singh welcomed Sturgeon's announcement but said the Scottish government should elaborate 'a viable plan' to convince undecided voters.

"It's time, we just need a date. All the government has to do is present a viable plan to the Scots on agriculture, economy, currency ... We need a vision for Scotland," Singh said, adding that support for independence will "double or triple" once a referendum date is set.

Allan Galloway, dressed in the traditional Scottish kilt, attended the demonstration with his two children, Kirstie, 5 and Ben, 7.

"We voted in favour of staying in Europe and it has become clear that our voice is not heard in London. They have no right to say 'no', we have the right to vote again," Galloway said.

Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, pledged this Saturday to resist any new referendum on independence.

I'll make a firm guarantee now: If I am elected Scotland's next first minister, there will be no more constitutional games and no more referenda," Davidson, told cheering Scottish Conservatives.

"We've had enough to last a lifetime," she told the party conference in the city of Aberdeen.