THE pro-independence campaigning group All Under One Banner (AUOB) has defended its decision to hold an "emergency independence march" in response to the ongoing crisis surrounding the UK Government.

The group announced on Thursday that it would hold a march on January 22 in Glasgow and encouraged as many people as possible to make plans to attend.

It comes in response to multiple revelations of Covid rule-breaking parties and other gatherings throughout government departments at times when the rest of the UK was under strict measures to stop the spread of the virus.

AUOB arranged the emergency "Sack Boris Johnson, End Tory rule, Independence now" in response to the litany of breaches of trust and failures of the Tory government in Westminster, not just the partygate scandal currently engulfing Whitehall.

READ MORE: All Under One Banner announces planned dates for 2022's independence rallies

The campaign group said that the independence movement should not be seen to be allowing Johnson to remain as Prime Minister simply because he is boosting support for Scottish independence as there is "widespread fury" over the PM's behaviour.

The statement read: "The indy movement needs to reflect this anger otherwise we can rightly be accused of wanting to keep Johnson in power, with all the subsequent dangers this involves, simply because it benefits us politically. People will see this for what it is - narrow self-interest.

"This emergency march for independence has the slogans 'Sack Johnson, End Tory Rule, Independence Now', because we have a corrupt individual, a corrupt Westminster system and the solution of independence available to us as soon as we exercise the right to self-determination.

"It is essential that the Independence movement is part of the active opposition to the Tories. It is largely because historically we have been, that backing for independence has grown."

They added that the failure of Labour to accurately represent the views of the people of Scotland, such as in 2014 when a clear section of the population supported independence and the party positioned themselves with the Tories, lost Labour support in most of the country, despite being the dominant political force north of the Border for decades.

The National: Pipers at an AUOB-organised march through Edinburgh in September

AUOB listed a litany of aspects of "Tory misrule" besides Covid rule breaches that justify the march such as tax hikes, the energy crisis and a lack of respect for the NHS.

This list of issues show, AUOB say, that the march is not just about the PM, but about "the Tory party itself and the whole British establishment".

AUOB then explained that leaving Johnson and the Tories in power "demobilises activists" and leaves the initiative for gaining indyref2 and independence for Scotland "solely with elected politicians".

Achieving these goals will require "strong, effective unrelenting action by the movement on the streets and in communities across Scotland", AUOB say.

Despite Johnson's premiership being accepted as a good recruiting tool for the Yes movement and getting rid of him is not likely to – in itself – rid Westminster of Tory rule, AUOB say it will strengthen people's confidence to "challenge the powers that be much more successfully", especially if it involves mass action.

​READ MORE: AUOB plans 'emergency demonstration' over Boris Johnson, Tory rule and indy

In response to worries about a mass gathering while Covid cases have been at a high level, AUOB said: "We appreciate that some people are worried about us holding a mass gathering while there is the continuing risk of contracting Covid. As such if anyone feels unsafe about attending this emergency demonstration then they should of course stay away.

"The Scottish Government has now lifted the ban on mass gatherings as of this Monday, January 17.

"AUOB has held a series of socially distanced outdoor rallies throughout the pandemic. These have been successful with little or no evidence that they have caused increased infection."

Concluding, AUOB said it "stands by" the decision to plan for the emergency march on Saturday, January 22, believing "now is the time to strike".

The statement read: "This emergency demonstration is calling for: the sacking of a corrupt Prime Minister, the end to a debased Westminster government and system, and the complete dissolution of the UK Union – which can only be achieved if we step up the fight for Scottish independence now."

The group again encouraged the independence movement to attend in "huge numbers" next Saturday for the march.

AUOB also has events planned throughout 2022 for locations across the country with more details available at this link and a full list of all the planned events so far below.

AUOB's 2022 indy events schedule

  • 5 March - Paisley
  • 2 April - Arbroath
  • 14 May - Glasgow
  • 11 June - Dumfries
  • 25 June - Bannockburn
  • 30 July - Faslane
  • 20 August - Inverness
  • 10 September - Falkirk
  • 1 October - Edinburgh