'Stay the f**k away': Convoy of Scottish nationalists attempt 'blockade' on English border
Calls have been made for Nicola Sturgeon to condemn a group of Scottish nationalists who staged a protest close to the border with England after they waved provocative banners and told people travelling north to “stay the f**k out”.
Photographs and video footage emerged online on Saturday showing a small convoy of cars and vans festooned with Saltires, SNP flags and independence slogans parked at a rest area on the A1 route towards Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Eyewitnesses claimed campaigners wearing hazmat suits and masks could be heard shouting “plague carrier” at northbound vehicles, reading out number plates on live streams and brandishing banners with messages such as “Keep Scotland Covid Free”. One such banner was tied to the sign welcoming motorists to Scotland.
In one video, a male campaigner addresses the camera, stating: “Basically, what we’re saying is, stay the f**k out”.
And in another clip, posted by a pro-independence group on Twitter, a second male campaigner says the group are collecting the registration numbers of all camper vans heading into Scotland.
“If they’ll not stay at home, we’ll shame them to death,” the man can be heard telling viewers.
Politicians lined up on social media to condemn the actions of the protesters and for the SNP to respond with a statement.
Calling on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the behaviour, Scottish Conservative MP John Lamont, who serves Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, wrote on Twitter: “This is appalling. I can’t quite believe it. Nationalists telling English people to ‘stay the f*ck out’ of Scotland.”
Rachael Hamilton, Scottish Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, branded the scenes as “nationalism at its worst”.
She added: “Scotland is meant to be a welcoming country. Do these people in masks realise they’re telling Scottish people who live in England and work in Scotland to f*** off? What kind of example does this set @NicolaSturgeon?”
Another individual tweeted: “What about the Berwick fishermen who have boats at Eyemouth? Will they be prevented from going to work? Lorries from English distribution centres crossing an internal UK border to replenish Scottish supermarket shelves? These people are nuts.”
The border protest comes as top Scottish Government health adviser and Edinburgh University professor Devi Sridhar warned Scotland and England’s diverging coronavirus lockdown polices could create a “high risk environment for the virus to spread”.
Nationalists had also hit back last week, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted “there is no border between Scotland and England” during a row over coronavirus quarantines, as Nicola Sturgeon refused to rule out border checks on visitors from the south if virus cases showed signs of a resurgence.
England relaxed many lockdown restrictions this weekend, with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas permitted to open to customers after months out of action.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses in Scotland will remain closed until 16 July.
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