Police probe 'hateful sign' calling for 'decapitation' at gender rally

Hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow on Saturday to take part in the Rally for Trans Equality on Buchanan Street.

Police Scotland launches probe into ‘hateful sign’ calling for ‘decapitation’ at gender rally in Glasgow Max Joss

Police are investigating after reports of “hateful signs” at a rally in protest against the UK Government’s blocking of Scottish gender recognition reforms.

Hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow on Saturday to take part in the Rally for Trans Equality on Buchanan Street.

Activists and politicians spoke at the rally in the city centre while those in the crowd held placards with slogans including “trans rights are human rights”, “trans liberation now”, and “hands off the GRA reform”.

However, police were alerted to the content of some signs displayed at the gathering amid concerns that they amounted to hate crimes.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser tweeted saying that he was among those who have complained to Police Scotland after seeing a sign reading “decapitate terfs” alongside an image of a guillotine.

Another sign read: “I eat terfs and tories”.

Terf is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is often used in reference to opponents of gender identity reforms – some of whom believe it to be derogatory.

A photo of SNP MSPs Kirsten Oswald and Kaukab Stewart shows them standing in front of the signs.

JK Rowling, a vocal critic of the reforms, tweeted: “A few of Scotland’s wonderfully progressive and kind politicians, posing proudly in front of banners calling for women to be decapitated and eaten.”

Stewart said she was unaware of the signs when she attended the protest “in defence of Scottish democracy and the rights of trans people”.

“I utterly disagree with them,” she said.

“Violent hate speech is totally unacceptable and has absolutely no place in our public discourse.”

Rowling responded: “I too beam with delight when having my photograph taken with things of which I am entirely unaware.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We have received a report regarding a sign which was displayed during a rally on Buchanan Street, Glasgow on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”