Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to get vaccinated as she opened the Govanhill Carnival in Glasgow – the largest crowd the First Minister has been a part of since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sturgeon spoke to crowds in Queen’s Park at the annual event in her Glasgow Southside constituency.
“It is so amazing to be amongst people again,” the First Minister said.
“This is probably the biggest crowd of people I’ve been in for almost two years and I am sure that is true of many people here.
“So it is such a joy to be with people in the flesh again.”
To cheers from the crowd, she added: “If you indulge me with my serious head on for just one more moment, if you are not vaccinated yet, get vaccinated as soon as possible and help us all get back to doing all of the normal things that we all want to do.”
The Govanhill International Festival and Carnival is in its fifth year – having been postponed during the pandemic.
Its organisers describe it as an antidote to racism towards migrant communities from Eastern Europe in the neighbourhood.
Sturgeon said the community is the most diverse in the UK outside of London.
Speaking about an incident on polling day of the Scottish Parliament elections in May, she said there was no place for fascism in Scotland.
Glasgow Southside independent candidate Jayda Fransen had confronted the SNP leader and First Minister, accusing her of supporting “mass immigration” and “Marxism”.
But the former deputy leader of Britain First won just 46 votes in the poll for the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking to carnival-goers, Sturgeon spoke about Fransen having the “temerity to put her name on the ballot paper in Glasgow Southside”.
“As she confronted me… she screamed with the hate-filled look in her face that I should be ashamed of Govanhill. Well I am not ashamed of Govanhill I am proud of Govanhill,” she said.
“And let me tell you what I’m also proud of: that fascist got 46, 47 votes. The Southside of Glasgow sent her packing.
“There is no place in Govanhill, there is no place in the Southside, there is no place in Glasgow, there is no place in Scotland for racism or fascism.
“We stand united against all of that and in celebration of the diversity that makes us who we are.”