Nicola Sturgeon has urged a leading pro-independence group not to go ahead with a demonstration planned for next month.
Activists from around the country are expected to travel to Edinburgh for All Under One Banner’s event in Edinburgh on July 20.
The group has confirmed further “socially distanced static demos” in Glasgow on September 17 and Stirling on August 19.
But the first minister “strongly” advised organisers to abandon the plans as she said the events risk undermining Scotland’s progress in tackling coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “They will potentially jeopardise the efforts to keep the virus suppressed.
“As things stand just now, these kind of mass gatherings are not advised. In fact, we strongly advise against them and there are legal enforcement powers.
“So my advice to anybody, whether it is All Under One Banner or anybody else protesting for any other reason, or people wanting to gather in the sunshine in Kelvingrove park, please don’t do it because you are putting our progress at risk and, if our progress starts to go backwards, lives are at risk.”
The SNP leader said she understands the importance of protests, having been an activist since the age of 16, but urged individuals to find other ways to make their views known because such events are “risky” during a pandemic.
“If we jeopardise this progress, we’ll all be under these restrictions for a lot longer, our economy will be under pressure for a lot longer, and more people will die,” she added.
Let's once again clarify that we are not organising Marches & Rallies- that won't happen until after Phase 4. There is lots of false info circulating from the press and others- any Q's come speak directly to us. We know what we're doing, what can be done and what must be done 🏴 https://t.co/PH4uZ1E6ok
— All Under One Banner (@AUOBALBA) June 26, 2020
The All Under One banner group has pledged to “safely stage one socially distanced static demo every month” until it is able to call a mass gathering to March – which it stated will not be until phase four of lockdown easing.
In a tweet, the group wrote: “Let’s once again clarify that we are not organising marches and rallies- that won’t happen until after phase four.
“There is lots of false info circulating from the press and others- any Q’s come speak directly to us. We know what we’re doing, what can be done and what must be done.”
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