Sturgeon claims the independence of Scotland is knocking at its doors

Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions

"An independent Scotland is closer than it has ever been", Ms Sturgeon wrote in a statement released hours before the start of Saturday's rally.

She called on voters to cast their ballots for the SNP and thereby strengthen Scotland's position.

"As the strongest Remain party Liberal Democrats are pushing for a prosperous Scotland at the heart of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom at the heart of Europe".

She said "another clear win" for the SNP at the General Election next month will "bring it even closer still".

Nicola Sturgeon and the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) are determined to deliver a new independence referendum in 2020 and plan to make an official request before the end of the year, against the backdrop of a snap general election and the new Brexit 31 January deadline.

The event prompted a counter demonstration by dozens of unionist supporters who waved flags and blew whistles as supporters of Scottish independence gathered.

The first minister told the crowd the general election was "the most important election for Scotland in our lifetimes".

She said: "Our future is on the line and it's a choice of what kind of future we want".

While she was clear Labour wants "Scotland to be part of Great Britain" she added: "Ultimately, what we have said is that after the next Scottish government elections, if the Scottish government determine they want to pursue another referendum and they go through the legislative process within their own government to push that forward, than as a government we wouldn't stand in their way". "And there is no doubt whatsoever that Scotland stands at a crossroads moment".

Scotland is not willing to be ruled under autocracy under the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and does not want to exit the European Union, according to the First Minister.

The SNP leader said: "There is, my friends, a much better alternative".

The Scottish leader has said she wants to hold a second referendum on Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom in 2020 and has pledged to take this request to the British government by the end of December.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In response, Jeremy Corbyn said only a Labour government would be able to boost Scotland's economy and see "the levels of poverty in Scotland, particularly in the big cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, being reduced".

Also speaking at the rally, organised by Scotland's only pro-independence daily newspaper The National, are fellow SNP members Mhairi Black MP, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Indyref 2020 rally.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow, Annie Wells, said: "While Nicola Sturgeon is banging on about indyref2, I'm out talking to people about the state of their local schools, the drug deaths crisis and violent crime taking over our streets, and the problems at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital".

"So this election is about stopping Nicola Sturgeon from dividing our communities all over again, and only a vote for the Scottish Conservatives will do that".

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