05:11 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Pro-Scottish Independence supporters with Scottish Saltire flag masks pose for a picture at a rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland on July 30, 2016 to call for Scottish independence from the UK.

    Scottish Head Wants Region's Interests Protected, Vows Independence Vote By '20

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    A second referendum on Scottish independence is possible unless the UK will not demostrate intention to protect Scottish interests, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United Kingdom needs to demonstrate intention to protect Scottish interests otherwise a second referendum on Scottish independence is possible and likely to be held before 2020, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Sunday.

    "If Scotland really is an equal partner in the UK [and Prime Minister] Theresa May is serious about protecting the UK, then it's time for her to turn those words into action and actually demonstrate that Scotland's voice is heard," Sturgeon said, stressing that Scotland was "highly likely" to hold a referendum before 2020 if it would not be done, as quoted by ITV.

    A previous referendum on Scottish independence was held in September 2014, when 55 percent of people voted against separating from the United Kingdom.

    On Thursday, Sturgeon said the bill for a second independence referendum would be published in a week and that the referendum might be held before the end of a two-year negotiations process on Brexit, which is expected to start in March 2017.

    On June 23, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which 51.9 percent of voters, or 17.4 million people, opted for the country to leave the European Union. Sturgeon has been a vocal critic of London's handling of the EU membership referendum, with the majority Scottish voters against quitting the bloc.

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    Britain Says 'Cheerio' to EU (463)

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    referendum, independence, Nicola Sturgeon, United Kingdom, Scotland
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