A far-right nationalist group has pledged to continue handing out food on the streets of Scotland’s biggest city despite facing a backlash from campaigners and politicians.
Members of Generation Identity – a voluntary organisation once described as appealing to “hipster fascists” – was spotted handing out packages to homeless individuals in Glasgow last weekend.
One MP described them as a “hateful cabal” who were not welcome in the city.
Generation Identity and its various chapters across Europe were last year banned from Facebook, with the web giant claiming they violated its policies against extremist content.
The UK arm of the organisation is affiliated with the so-called Identitarian movement in Europe, which has previously attempted to sabotage refugee rescue ship efforts and block border crossings in the Alps.
The group’s leader in Austria, Martin Sellner, was last month banned from entering the UK by the Home Office on the grounds of public security.
Mr Sellner was previously found to have accepted a donation of €1,500 (£1,349) from Brendan Tarrant, an Australian who has been charged over the murder of 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand in March. In March, Generation Identity was found to have displayed posters accusing a member of staff at the University of Glasgow of “racism” for supporting the “demographic replacement of Europeans”.
Images of the group handing packages to vulnerable people in Glasgow were shared widely on social media last weekend.
Simon Community Scotland, the homeless charity, said in a statement: “They are, we believe, a far-right racist organisation looking to recruit and influence vulnerable people.”
William McNeil, a regional organiser in Scotland for Generation Identity, denied his group would only hand out packages to individuals who were white.
Asked by The Scotsman how he responded to allegations his group was promoting a hateful, white supremacist ideology, he said: “Anyone making this claim, intentionally or not, refuses to understand Identitarianism. It is not about skin colour, nor is it about anyone being better than another. All peoples have a right to preserve and promote their group identity in their homelands.”
He said his group would continue with what he described as its community efforts.
“We regularly carry out other charity actions – cleaning war memorials, for example,” he said.
“It is important to us that we look after our local communities, where the government fails to do so.
“As our numbers increase, so will our efforts to look after our communities.”
Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney told The Scotsman: “This hateful cabal should get the message – they are not welcome in our city.
“The fact that they are preying on the most vulnerable people in society to peddle their politics of division shows that they are beneath contempt.”