FIVE Unionist counter protesters at the independence rally in Stirling were warned not to cause trouble by police.

An officer told the handful of Union flag-waving demonstrators – who were outnumbered by a ratio of roughly 1000 to one – that they would be watched to ensure there was not a repeat of an incident the previous year.

The police officer said a Stirling rally in 2022 had seen a Unionist counter protester provoke the Yes demonstrators by attempting to join the march, sparking heated discussions between the sides.

This time, the Union flags of the group were met with light-hearted mockery from the Yes demonstrators. Many waved to them smiling, and one lady held her hand to her brow as if to question where the rest of their number were.

The National:

After the pro-independence march had passed, one of the protesters, who declined to give their name because “the SNP run this country”, said that “the film Braveheart has got a lot to answer for”.

“I think we need someone like Neil Oliver to bring the Unionists together and start saying, this is a nonsense,” she went on. “What are they going to live on? Fresh air?”

The protester said that the four nations of the UK had fought together in World War Two and that they should remain together now.

Another Unionist demonstrator claimed that the marchers were anti-English and she had come to the counter protest because her husband is from south of the Border.

"One woman came up and shoved a flag in my face," the protester claimed, in an incident which this journalist did not witness despite being present throughout. 

"'Get to hell with your Union flag', she says. I said 'no you get to hell'. I expected worse."

She further claimed that Scotland would be too poor to become independent, saying that support for Yes could be boiled down to “one word: benefits”. “That’s why it’s Glasgow and Dundee,” she said.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Thousands march in Stirling for Yes rally on Bannockburn anniversary

The Unionist demonstrator claimed that policies such as the Scottish Child Payment – where every young person under 16 is given £25 per week – was unaffordable and meant to “buy” votes.

They then threatened to sue The National if they were quoted.

No further counter protesters were met on the route, but many small groups of pro-independence campaigners joined the march on its way to Bannockburn, where the route ended.

The car park at the historic battle site was also overflowing as people headed straight there for the rally, rather than joining earlier.

The All Under One Banner march marked the anniversary of the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, which saw Robert the Bruce win a decisive victory over the English King Edward II.