Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will begin to prepare the legislation required to enable a second independence referendum to take place.
The First Minister said the option of a second independence referendum "must be on the table and it is on the table" after Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU.
She said it is "highly likely" a second independence referendum will take place.
She added she will take "all possible steps and explore all options" to secure Scotland's continuing place in the EU.
She said it is "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland would be taken out of the EU "against its will".
She added: "I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday. We proved we are a modern, outward looking, open and inclusive country and we said clearly that we don't want to leave the EU."
The party leader said her MPs may be in a position to act as deal makers - and they would refuse to allow an exit from the EU.
Scotland's First Minister said her government will seek 'immediate discussions' with Brussels to "protect Scotland's place in the EU".
An emergency meeting will be held today to discuss the Scottish government's next steps following the UK's decision to leave the EU.