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Independence activist

An independence activist will be tried for having organized Yes marches

INDEPENDENCE campaigner Gary Kelly is due to stand trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court later this year on two counts.

The case stems from the All Under One Banner (AUOB) march in the city in August 2019, of which he was the designated organizer.

Kelly, who has since left AUOB to co-found Yes2indee, is the second person to face charges of independence marches and rallies. Manny Singh was jailed for 72 days for his role in organizing the march in Glasgow in May 2019.

READ MORE: AUOB’s Manny Singh fears losing livelihood after sentencing

In Aberdeen, where thousands of people took part in the march, Kelly faces two charges under section 651C of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 which relate to “a person who organizes a procession in public otherwise than in accordance with a condition imposed by an order”.

It is alleged that Kelly did not obtain a Temporary Traffic Control Order (TTRO) and requested that a road closure fully approved by a traffic management company be in place during the procession.

The second charge is that he did not have proper liability insurance in place, which would have been a condition of the approval of the march being granted by Aberdeen City Council on August 19, 2019.

The council also forced a last-minute route change, but independence supporters were still able to walk down Union Street in the city center. The march was peaceful and there were no arrests.

Since this march, Kelly, 46, has become the father of a child.

A crowdfunder has been launched to help pay for his legal costs, but with the lawsuit unfolding more than two years after the march, Kelly is reportedly running out of money.

Kelly told The National he would continue to plead not guilty and invoke the right to protest as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera