The National:

A LONE man in an “all lives matter” shirt waving a Union flag around joined a pro-independence march to Bannockburn this weekend – apparently to protest against the SNP.

The gentleman found his way into the group of marchers on Saturday, showing off the UK’s flag among a sea of Saltires covering the streets of Stirling. 

But if he was looking for trouble, he didn't find it - as he received a remarkably warm welcome from the Yessers surrounding him.

“I’m protesting against the SNP, how they’ve ruined this country,” he told the Silent Clansman – a popular figure at independence marches across Scotland, as he interviewed the man on camera.

“But this isn’t an SNP march, sir,” the campaigner replied. “This is a march for independence, which covers all sorts of parties … so you’ve made a mistake there.”

The “all lives matter” man responded: “Oh have I? Good, well you’ve put me right then.”

Another marcher interrupted to ask the man if he was taking his free prescriptions, given he so dislikes the SNP.

“Of course I do!” he told the group. “You don’t take the money coming up from England then, do you?”

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The marchers surrounding the man laughed heartily. “We send the money down there! Where do you think the money comes from?" asked one activist.

After the debate continued for a while, the group of Yessers backed the sole protester for his boldness.

“Good on you,” the Silent Clansman told him. “I’m all for free people. So listen, enjoy your march.”

The National:

After the encounter, the Silent Clansman explained his thought process to The National.

"I was quite amazed that he was there and had to ask him why," he said. "I like to think I'm a half-decent verbal communicator and was civil and polite with him in an effort to find out his reasoning. 

"I'm glad that I got a few words from him and he felt safe that he could carry out his right to free speech and to march with us on the day," he went on.

"Tolerance and patience is a wonderfull thing and the Yes movement has loads of it."

The National:

The campaigner added that communication between those with opposing views is "so impact" because after independence there will still be those who remain unconvinced. 

The Union flag protest was certainly an unusual sight – small numbers of Unionist counter-protesters, often led by A Force for Good’s Alistair McConnachie, can often be found at large indy rallies. But they don’t tend to join in with the festivities.

Independence supporters praised the Yessers for how they handled the strange situation.

“He got a far better welcome than if the boot was on the other foot,” one noted.

“This is absolutely great footage for the YES movement," wrote Sean Rassleagh. “The fact that a guy can walk in a YES march carrying a union jack with no aggravation gives the lie to a whole bunch of unionist arguments.”

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“Glad he didn’t get the response he was obviously trying to get,” added another commenter.

On Sunday thousands turned out for the first Scottish independence march since Nicola Sturgeon announced the start of the campaign.

The occasion also marked the 30th march ever arranged by All Under One Banner, who said they were proud of the scenes.

“Well done to everyone who took part – the fight for independence is on,” the group wrote.