THE Scottish Parliament is the latest venue earmarked for demonstrations in support of the Loyalist Union flag dispute in Northern Ireland, with protesters claiming the events are now also anti-independence.
Multiple rush-hour protests are planned for today. A further four are across central Scotland this weekend, while another was due to take place in West Lothian last night.
As well as the Saturday lunchtime protest at the Parliament building in Edinburgh, rallies are lined up for Irvine in Ayrshire and Larkhall in South Lanarkshire. Another is planned for Ayr on Sunday.
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Demonstrators who have taken part in the Scottish events say they are now as much anti-independence rallies as they are in support of the Loyalist protests across Northern Ireland.
The protests stem from the decision by Belfast Council to only fly the Union flag on designated days, which has sparked protests, riots, violence, intimidation of politicians and attempted murder of police. Despite the violence, the Scottish protests have passed without incident.
A crowd of 600 gathered in Glasgow's George Square last Saturday with no arrests, with the same outcome after 150 protested in Airdrie on Wednesday.
One demonstrator told The Herald: "It's not just about flags now, it's also about independence. The Better Together campaign isn't working for us so we're doing things our way. We believe the Union flag should be proudly flown like the Stars and Stripes."
One Scottish Parliament source said: "It's hard to see the point. Not only is it a Saturday and no politicians will be around, but its also recess. They'll be protesting to a security guard or two."