Thousands marched through Scotland’s most populous city Saturday in favor of independence from the U.K.
It is the first of eight planned marches in 2020 by a group known as All Under One Banner (AUOB). Organizers said 80,000 took part in the march through Glasgow.
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for a second independence referendum this year as her pro-independence party won 48 of 57 seats in Scotland, while center-right Conservatives won the U.K. election overall last December.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has consistently ruled out an independence vote.
Scotland voted to remain in the U.K. in a 2014 referendum by 55% but the campaign galvanized the country’s pro-independence movement nonetheless. Scotland then voted against Brexit in 2016, which Conservatives support.
“We do not support a second referendum on leaving the U.K.,” a British government spokesman said. “Scots voted decisively to remain part of the U.K. in a once in a generation referendum in 2014.”
Sturgeon wrote to Johnson asking for powers to hold a referendum, which currently have to be granted by the national Westminster parliament. She also called for the permanent transfer of those powers to the devolved Scottish parliament to hold future referendums, if needed.
Sturgeon did not attend the march but SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown and SNP Justice Minister Hamza Yusuf attended.
The next march will take place in April in the historic town Arbroath, which saw the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland’s declaration of independence. The march will mark its 700 anniversary.
“It’s another mandate at the end of the day and it shows there’s still an appetite and a desire in Scotland for Scottish independence,” said march organizer Gary Kelly of the AUOB. “We don’t get a lot of media publicity and the fact is that we do get it now. The world’s media is here today watching us.”__The Nation