Protesters at the Scotland-England border were spoken to by police on Saturday afternoon after staging a demonstration urging English holidaymakers to turn back.
The small group of protesters were pictured in a layby area near the A1 at Lamberton; some of them wearing hazmat suits and masks.
They also carried Scotland flags and homemade banners urging holidaymakers travelling north not to cross the border into Scotland amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
One banner read: “Staycation: Keep Scotland Covid free”.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police in the Borders were called to a layby area near the A1 at Lamberton at around 2.25pm on Saturday, 4 July, 2020 following a report of protest activity at the side of the carriageway.
“Officers attended and suitable advice has been given to those in attendance.”
The protest comes a few days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would not rule out a quarantine for visitors to Scotland from other parts of the UK if such a policy was supported by scientific advice.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We condemn this type of behaviour in the strongest possible terms. This is an isolated incident and not indicative of the vast majority of people’s views.”
Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw described the scenes as “shocking and inexcusable” and Thomas Kerr, Conservative councillor for Shettleston, also expressed his anger at the protesters in a social media post.
Kerr said: I was born and bred in the East End of Glasgow but nearly every day I’m told to “go back to England”
“With a wink & a nudge the SNP encourage this kind of bigotry and it needs to stop. They say their nationalism is open and inclusive – time to prove it by condemning this bile.”
Meanwhile, Rachael Hamilton, the Scottish Conservative MSP for Ettrick Roxburgh & Berwickshire, said the protests were an example of “nationalism at its worst”.
She tweeted: “Scotland is meant to be a welcoming country. Do these people in masks realise that they’re telling Scottish people who live in England and work in Scotland to f*** off? What kind of example does this set?”
Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, described the protest as “counter-productive and ill conceived”.
And Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, said she found the “behaviour abhorrent”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the House of Commons last week there is “no such thing” as a border between Scotland and England.
Sturgeon described Johnson’s remarks as “absurd and ridiculous”, adding: “I’m not sure what he would say if I pitched up in Newcastle and started to try to implement Scottish Government policies.”
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