NICOLA Sturgeon has taken the stage at an independence rally outside Holyrood to address the crowd following the Supreme Court’s verdict on the indyref2 case.

The Time for Scotland rally had been organised by indy campaigner Lesley Riddoch but Nicola Sturgeon had not been expected to participate until her attendance was hinted at on Wednesday afternoon.

The First Minister started her speech by welcoming “her fellow supporters of Scottish democracy” and thanking those who had attended rallies across the country and beyond.

She said: “Today our independence movement also becomes Scotland’s democracy movement.”

She went on to say that it had been "clarified" that the United Kingdom was not a "voluntary partnership of nations".

READ MORE: LIVE: Updates as Supreme Court BLOCKS Scottish independence referendum

She continued: "Any partnership in any walk of life that requires one party to seek the consent of another to choose its own future is not voluntary - it is not a partnership at all."

The First Minister said that Wednesday's ruling may "create temporary relief on the part of Unionist politicians and parties" but added that "the hardest questions" emerging from the verdict were "for them because they are questions about the future and basis of the United Kingdom".

On the next steps for the independence movement, Sturgeon stressed the need for "democratic process" to allow that "majority opinion to be expressed beyond any doubt".

This follows the First Minister saying that she would be looking to convene a special party conference to agree on details on how the next General Election could be utilised as a de-facto referendum. 

Drawing on her own personal experience of campaigning for independence, Sturgeon said: "This is a movement I have been proud to be part of since I was a teenager and it is a movement that I know is destined to win the independence of our country. 

"Let us rededicate ourselves to that task today. Let us make sure that we take this message to every part of Scotland because what has been shown beyond any doubt today is that the only route to equality for Scotland within the British family of nations is by Scotland becoming an independent country."

The event marks the first time the First Minister has addressed an independence rally since November 2019.