Nicola Sturgeon condemns 'disgraceful' abuse hurled at BBC journalist 

James Cook was targeted with a barrage of abuse by pro-independence protesters outside the Conservative leadership hustings.

Nicola Sturgeon condemns ‘disgraceful’ abuse hurled at BBC journalist outside Perth Tory hustings Twitter

Nicola Sturgeon has labelled independence campaigners’ abuse of a journalist as “disgraceful”.

Protesters yelled at James Cook, BBC Scotland’s editor, as they demonstrated outside the Conservative hustings in Perth on Tuesday, with calls of “traitor”, “scumbag rat” and “liar” heard.

On Wednesday, Scotland’s First Minister hit out at the independence backers who abused him.

“Hurling abuse at journalists is never acceptable,” the SNP politician tweeted.

“Their job is vital to our democracy and it is important to report and scrutinise, not support any viewpoint.

“James Cook is a journalist of the highest quality and a total pro – the behaviour he was subjected to last night was disgraceful.”

During the video, which was filmed by protesters, Mr Cook was asked how long he had been in Scotland.

“I’ve been in Scotland my whole life,” he told the woman, who was asking about the Claim of Right, a document which dates back to 1689.

“I’m not going to be starting asking you how long you’ve been in Scotland, I think it’s a bit of a rude question.”

After yells continued from the crowd, Mr Cook said: “It’s a waste of time. I’m very much trying to have a civilised conversation with you, in our nation, which we share, but I can’t have a civilised conversation because this gentleman calls me ‘traitor’ and ‘scum’ and screams me down.”

At the protest, there were also reports of abuse being hurled at Tory members as they walked in, as well as eggs being thrown.

Chief Superintendent Phil Davison said there an “appropriate policing plan was in place to maintain public safety and minimise disruption”.

“Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation that puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do,” Mr Davidson said.

“We have a duty under the European Convention on Human Rights to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter protest balanced against the rights of the wider community.”

No arrests were made, the force said.

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