"THE United Kingdom is not a voluntary Union of nations.”

That’s what Nicola ­Sturgeon told the thousands of ­Yessers that gathered outside of the Scottish Parliament in the wake of the UK Supreme Court’s ­independence ruling.

She spoke as a wave of Saltires ­covered the grounds of Holyrood.

But it wasn’t the only ­demonstration to happen yesterday. It was one of 15 across Scotland and another seven in Europe ­showing support for ­independence after ­Britain’s top court decided Scotland needs Westminster’s permission to hold a plebiscite.

Speaker after speaker told the crowd the notion that the Union is a partnership of equals is now a myth and that yesterday cemented that.

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It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Above all was a message for the Yes movement to get moving, to spread the word and convince Scots that a vote for indy is in their best ­interests for them, their family and their ­country.

Speaking at the rally, Sturgeon told the crowd the ­independence ­movement has now become ­“Scotland’s democracy movement”.

She said: “Today it has been ­clarified – something many of us ­suspected but hoped was not the case. But it has been clarified today that the United Kingdom is not a ­voluntary partnership of nations.

“Any partnership in any walk of life that requires one party to seek the consent of another is not ­voluntary; it is not a partnership at all.

“While today’s ruling may ­create temporary relief on the part of ­Unionist politicians and parties, they should know the hardest ­questions that have been posed today are ­questions for them because they are questions today about the future and the basis of a United Kingdom.

“The Westminster establishment may think it can block a ­referendum, but let me be clear. I am sure on your behalf today that no establishment, ­Westminster or otherwise, will ever silence the voice of the Scottish ­people.”

She said the task at hand for ­Scotland’s independence movement is the same as it was on Tuesday: “to build the case for Scotland becoming a normal, equal, independent member of the European family of nations”.

She continued: “It is to build through dignified and patient ­persuasion clear, overwhelming, ­majority support in Scotland for our independence and then to ensure we have a democratic process to allow that majority opinion to be expressed beyond any doubt.”

The National: Yessers want their voice to be heardYessers want their voice to be heard

The independence movement, ­Sturgeon said, is destined to win. “What I’ve 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.”

Tommy Sheppard MP told those at the rally that Scotland must reinstate its right to self-determination.

He said the movement will never give up in its determination to see a Scotland outwith the Union, adding that the need to be independent has never been greater.

Afterwards, he told The National: “The turnout was magnificent. This was the biggest rally of Yes ­supporters I’ve seen in a long time.

The National: Glasgow came out in forceGlasgow came out in force

“For this to happen at such short notice, all over the country, shows the determination of people not to give in, not to submit, not to be ­disillusioned by what happened this morning – but to assert our right to self-determination.

“No matter what happens, at the end of the day, the people of this country will prevail – and they will determine their own future.”

Sheppard said the Yes movement must mobilise and convince those to Yes in order to win independence, and that the Supreme Court decision has shown that.

Pipers played between the speeches, including an impromptu rendition of Jingle Bells, as the cold winter night settled in and the Unionist counter-protesters left two-thirds of the way into the rally.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon said the UK is not a Union of equalsNicola Sturgeon said the UK is not a Union of equals

The group was determined to make their voices heard, but the PA system and the sheer mass of the Yes side made it difficult to hear them – even with a megaphone.

Valentina Servera, who travelled all the way from Barcelona, told the crowds the mission now for the Yes side is to convince more Scots to back their cause.

“This is how we win,” she told the audience at Holyrood. “By ­showing up, being united and convincing them. We will convince them with ­arguments, facts and courage.

“Today it might feel we are further away from freedom, but the truth is we are not. Today is a clear example of why we need a referendum now – and we cannot wait any longer.

The National: Pro-Scottish independence supporters gather for a rally outside parliament in Edinburgh on November 23, 2022 after the UK Supreme Court rejected Scottish independence vote plans. - Britain's highest court on Wednesday rejected a bid by the devolved

“This is not a union of equals. This is not a voluntary union. If this is a voluntary union, then show me the door so I can leave.”

Morag Williamson, from Yes For EU, told The National the mission is not over.

“We need to be focused now,” she said. “We must find our route to ­independence. That’s key. And we must be united.”

She said there is “absolutely” still a route for Scotland in the EU.

“There is so much support for ­Scotland in EU countries. They know us. People and politicians know us. So many support us and they know we have a lot to offer. They know we would be a good partner in the EU.”

Independence supporter Alison Wallace agreed with Williamson. After the rally, she told The National Yessers must get moving to convince No voters.

Her husband, Mike Wallace, thought similarly, saying it’s Scotland’s right to decide.

“We must be able to decide,” he said. “There’s so much drive in the independence movement.

“This decision wasn’t unexpected. We are in a clear majority. It was ­never about legality; it’s about ­politics. We need to win a clear ­majority and ­energise the campaign.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon takes stage to address indy rally in Edinburgh

Lesley Riddoch, who hosted the ­rally, said the rallies showed the Yes movement is alive and kicking.

She told The National: “People have not just knuckled down and ­accepted the Supreme Court verdict as the end of things.

“The world now knows the deal Scotland has been ­labouring with – the fact we are not in a voluntary ­union and that we are not in a union of equals and we have no democratic route out of the Union.

“And to that degree, are we even in a democracy?”