SCOTLAND doesn’t have to be the country of Downing Street but can be the “Scotland of Kenmure Street”, Lorna Slater told the Edinburgh Yes rally.

The Scottish Greens co-leader addressed the crowd in Holyrood Park outside of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday afternoon, and spoke about the hostile environment created by Westminster for migrants and asylum seekers.

Slater invoked the powerful message of the Kenmure Street protests in May 2021 in Glasgow, where the community turned out to stop the detention of two Sikh men of Indian origin by the Home Office.

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The attempt at a dawn raid, during Eid in the diverse neighbourhood of Pollokshields, led to hundreds of residents surrounding the van they were detained in until they were released.

The Circularity Minister said that an independent Scotland could craft a welcoming immigration system, in stark contrast to the Home Office’s current approach.

Slater told the crowd that Westminster was also “pushing back” on work that Holyrood was doing for equalities and the environment.

“Things we believe in deeply, that we know matter to the people of Scotland,” she said.

The National:

“We don't have to be the Scotland of Downing Street, we can be the Scotland of Kenmure Street.

“A Scotland where neighbours look out for each other no matter where they're from, where we welcome people from around the world who make their home in Scotland.

“But we can only do that with the powers of an independent country.”

Speaking to The National after her speech to the Believe in Scotland and Yes for EU rally, Slater said that the recent Scottish Government independence white paper on citizenship showed there was a different route forward.

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The Scottish Greens MSP attended the launch event with First Minister Humza Yousaf and said she found it “inspiring”.

“We met with refugees, with other immigrants like myself, to talk about how important that sense of belonging is,” she said.

“And how many years of people's lives are wasted in the current asylum system of the UK where asylum seekers can't work. You know, they waste years of their talent.

The National:

“Scotland's businesses are crying out for labour, we want people to come here, and to be able to work and bring their skills and abilities to Scotland.

“Sharing that common vision of that future with the First Minister, it feels so powerful and such a difference between what we want for Scotland and what the UK envisions.”

Slater said the turnout at the Edinburgh Yes rally was “phenomenal” and likened it to the way she felt “inspired” by the 2014 referendum.

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“That’s what we saw again today, that positive energy, everybody wanting to see a better Scotland, to get us back in the EU, to get our freedom of movement back, to treat refugees better, to build a green economy,” she said.

“And that is brilliant to be with so many people that want the same thing.”

We told how the FM hailed the number of people who joined the march and the Yes movement’s “rededication to the cause of independence” at the event in Edinburgh.