A SEA of Saltires flooded the streets of Dumfries on Saturday as thousands of people gathered to press the case for Scottish independence.

Despite competing events the same day, the All Under One Banner (AUOB) march attracted a huge crowd, with speakers from the SNP, English Scots for Yes, Pensioners for Independence, Alba, Now Scotland, Germans for Scottish Independence and Independence Live.

After the march, AUOB tweeted: “We are proud to announce that c. 1200 people attended the march for independence at Dumfries today.

“The movement is rebuilding after the pandemic, the fight for independence is on!”

Speaking at the rally following the march, SNP MSP Emma Harper said Scottish independence was an exciting opportunity to create a new country “built on fairness, inclusion, equality, dignity and respect”.

“The UK system of democracy is broken beyond repair,” she said. “We have a UK Government intent on hard right policies which punish the most vulnerable people in our society and a Prime Minister who lies to Parliament and then changes the UK Ministerial Code to save his own political skin.

“We have a House of Lords where 773 unelected peers are paid £350 per day when they endeavour to show up for a minimum required 20 minutes, while the rest of the country struggles to pay their household bills and put meals on the table. And because of the UK’s archaic two-party political pendulum, this isn’t going to change.

“Scotland can and must have the opportunity to decide our own future and, quite frankly, Boris Johnson, nor anyone else, has any right to deny democracy for the people of Scotland.

“We have a majority of pro-independence MSPs elected to the Scottish Parliament, and I know the SNP and I are taking plans forward to allow Scotland to have a say over our own future.”

Harper added that her message was one of inclusion after pensioners and the number of English people in Dumfries and Galloway were blamed for the low Yes vote in the area after the 2014 referendum.

“That’s not the case and my message is to get out and talk to people, be inclusive and engaging.”

She said voters should hear the economic arguments for independence, as well as the benefits the Scottish Government had brought in under the SNP.

“Scotland has not voted since 1955 for Boris Johnson’s party and although it is a different picture in Dumfries and Galloway, my goal is to go out and engage with people and talk about the merits of an independent Scotland.”