NICOLA Sturgeon has warned against staging any large political gatherings ahead of a planned Rally for Independence later this month.

The First Minister said the rules against large crowds applied “across the board”, and there would be no different treatment for Yes events.

“The virus will spread regardless of the political affiliation,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon made the comments after being asked at the daily briefing about the wisdom of a rally planned by the grassroots All Under One Banner (AUOB) group.

AUOB, who are behind some of Scotland’s biggest Yes marches and rallies before the pandemic, are planning to hold the event in Dundee on October 31.

They insist it will be not be a “mass gathering” and have limited participants.

People are asked to apply to take part in the hour-long, physically distanced “static rally” with speakers to ensure safety, with face coverings, hand gel and gloves made available.

The AUOB Facebook page states: “Please note this is not a mass gathering, nor is it a social gathering - this is outdoor activity.”

Under the Covid rules, social gatherings outdoors are limited to six people over 12 from no more than two households.

However outdoor “live events” can have 200 participants with social distancing.

People from the five central health board areas under the toughest lockdown measures should also not be travelling out of their area to Dundee.

Asked at the daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon was asked if those planning to take part would be putting the health of themselves and others at risk.

She said: “Generally everybody should be complying with the restrictions on gatherings right now, because that’s in the interests of the health of all of us. There are no exceptions in my view from that. There’s very good reasons why large crowds of people should not be coming together right now. I stand up here every day and I say, avoid crowded places.

“Unfortunately that will mean a lot of traditional Remembrance services do not go ahead this year. But big gatherings re not a good idea right now.”

Pressed on whether the AUOB event should go ahead, she replied: “I don’t know how to be any clearer. I don’t think big events should be going ahead no matter what for, and I’ve been clear about that all along.

“I don’t think anybody who has listened to me over the past six months now can be under any illusion that I don’t think big events should be going ahead right now because of the reasons we all know and understand.

“And if what you [the media] are trying to do here is get some suggestion that I’m going to have a different view of a pro-independence rally than I would have for some other, then that’s not the case.

“Because the virus will spread regardless of the political affiliation of the big gathering that might be taking place. The rules on gatherings apply across the board, and I really couldn’t be any clearer on that.”