Thousands of Scots storm streets in last ditch referendum protest
Thousands storm streets in last ditch referendum protest

Thousands of Scots have taken to the streets of Scotland in one of the final protests before the independence referendum on Thursday night.

The leading pro-independence campaign, Yes Scotland, claimed that Saturday would be the "biggest day of national campaigning" ever to be seen in Scotland.

Yet the Better Together campaign claimed that there would be more than a thousand events across the nation in the last weekend before the vote.

Both sides said the momentum was with them and the new protests followed calls from the the Yes campaign suggesting that UK Government had 'ocherstrated' the latest hiccup in their bid for independence, when business proposed that independence would cause issues for them and would force a move to London from Scotland.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Surgeon, said: "The 'Yes' campaign has been carried along by a flourishing of self-confidence among people in Scotland.

"That momentum is still growing and will soon become unstoppable, as people reject the Downing Street-orchestrated campaign to talk Scotland down.

"Today thousands of Yes supporters from communities across Scotland will be running the biggest campaign day of action Scotland's ever seen."

After last weeks polls suggesting that the momentum had swayed in favour of Yes Scotland, a poll organised by Better Together released suggests that 'No' are in the lead once more.

Better Together's new poll on Saturday suggested 53.5% opposed independence and 46.5% backed it, with undecided voters excluded.

Better Together director Blair McDougall announced: "This poll suggests that 'No' are in the lead but that the race is far from over.

"No-one can afford a protest vote. Any one of us could cast the vote that makes the difference between the UK staying together or breaking apart."

Jim Murphy, Labour MP and for Better Together, added: "I get a sense now the momentum has switched back - huge numbers of undecided voters are coming to us, there's a thousand events all across Scotland today."

Alistair Darling, head of Better Together, claimed that the opinion polls released last week in favour of Yes Scotland had 'galvanised' unionists to come out in protest. In a press conference he said that the closeness of the poll had 'brought people out who had previously stayed at home'.

A spokesperson for Yes Scotland insisted the latest opinion polls revealed that everything could still change:

"There is everything to play for, and this will spur on everybody who wants and is working hard for a 'Yes' to redouble their efforts.

"A 'Yes' vote is our one opportunity to achieve job-creating powers, protect our NHS from the damaging impact of Westminster privatisation and cuts, and ensure that never again do we get Tory governments imposed on Scotland that we have roundly rejected."

The 'Yes' campaign claimed that 2.6 million leaflets would be delivered on Saturday but the bosses of three retail groups signed a letter in the Daily Record suggesting that prices would rise should Scotland's people choose independence.

The letter, signed by the head of Marks & Spencer boss, read:

"Within our group there is first-hand experience of trading across national borders - in France, Ireland and across the world.

"Our experience is that it always leads to more red tape and higher costs."

Alex Salmond is more confident than ever of a 'Yes' vote on September 18, however.

"Despite Westminster's efforts we've seen a flourishing of national self-confidence," he said. "It's this revival in Scottish confidence that tells me we'll make a great success of an independent Scotland."