supporters of independence demonstrated in Glasgow to try to revive their movement

The current Prime Minister, Humza Yousaf, continues to believe in independence, but the Scottish National Party is nevertheless in difficulty, a few months before the legislative elections.


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Protesters demand Scottish independence during a rally in Glasgow, April 20, 2024. (ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Nearly 2,000 supporters of Scottish independence marched in Glasgow on Saturday April 20 to try to breathe new life into their movement, considerably weakened a few months before the British legislative elections. The goal of self-determination has been in decline since the surprise resignation last year of the charismatic Nicola Sturgeon, who had been at the head of local government for nine years.

Since then, his movement, the Scottish National Party (SNP), in power in the territory, has suffered one setback. In the latest setback, the husband of the ex-leader and former director general of the SNP, Peter Murrell, was indicted on Thursday for embezzlement in the investigation into the party’s finances. This investigation aims to use donations of 600,000 pounds (683,000 euros) collected in recent years with a view to organizing a new independence referendum.

Present in the procession, the current Prime Minister, Humza Yousaf, has already pledged to continue the campaign for independence during the British legislative elections, which are due to take place in the fall. He promised that the SNP would demand “a mandate for negotiations on independence” with the British government if it wins at least 29 of the 57 MP seats in Scotland. He also hopes that Scotland, if it manages to become independent, will rejoin the European Union as quickly as possible.

Independentists in trouble before the legislative elections

In 2014, Scotland voted 55% against independence in a referendum. But Nicola Sturgeon, who had then established herself as one of the leading figures of the movement, put the issue back on the table in 2016 after Brexit. According to her, Scotland had to leave the United Kingdom after a massive vote by its inhabitants in favor of remaining in the European Union.

After several refusals from London to organize another referendum, Nicola Sturgeon took the case to the highest court in the United Kingdom. But in November 2022, the judges ruled that only the British government was able to authorize such a vote to take place. The Scottish leader submitted her resignation shortly after, and support for independence fell to between 41% and 43%, according to three opinion polls taken in April 2024.

The SNP currently has 43 MPs in Scotland, but it is likely to lose several seats to a Labor Party on the rise and which seems in a strong position to enter Downing Street. Some Scots also believe that this party, positioned on the left and allied with the environmentalists in government, focuses too much on independence and not enough on the purchasing power crisis which worries voters.

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