Police are investigating a sign threatening to 'decapitate TERFs' at a rally in Glasgow after two SNP politicians appeared to pose near it.
The sign prompted a reaction from author J.K.Rowling who accused the MP and MSP of 'temporary blindness' for having not seen it while there in person but later issuing statements condemning the sign.
The placard, which included a picture of a guillotine, appeared in images shared on social media following a rally in Glasgow.
The term 'TERF' refers to 'trans-exclusionary radical feminists'.
Good grief @NicolaSturgeon, should your MP & MSP @kirstenoswald & @kaukabstewart really be standing under a banner with a guillotine and this the slogan ‘Decapitate Terfs’? And this is meant to be ‘progressive’? pic.twitter.com/aus04hrEmX
— Murdo Fraser (@murdo_fraser) January 21, 2023
MP Kirsten Oswald and MSP Kaukab Stewart were both pictured close to the placard, prompting criticism online.
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said he reported the sign to the police, saying it was "clearly a hate crime and a public order offence".
Watch: Author J.K. Rowling defends her right to speak out on trans issues without fear of abuse
He added: “Good grief [Nicola Sturgeon], should your MP and MSP [Kirsten Oswald] and [Kaukab Stewart] really be standing under a banner with a guillotine and this the slogan ‘Decapitate Terfs’? And this is meant to be ‘progressive’?”
Fellow Tory, Jamie Halcro-Johnston wrote on Twitter: "Scotland in 2023 - where SNP politicians stand smiling in front of a banner which calls for violence against women. Shameful."
Both politicians shared statements condemning the placard and its message.
Oswald tweeted: "That’s a horrific sign, and it wasn’t there when I joined the demo. It most certainly doesn’t represent my views, and isn’t language I would ever use.
"Violent hateful language, of any kind, is unacceptable and has no place in the peaceful movement for LGBT equality and democracy."
Stewart wrote: "I was not aware of these hateful signs when I attended today’s protest in defence of Scottish democracy and the rights of trans people, and I utterly disagree with them.
"Violent hate speech is totally unacceptable and has absolutely no place in our public discourse."
Their statements sparked a reaction from J.K.Rowling, who wrote on Twitter: "A strange new form of temporary blindness has broken out among Scottish politicians.
"None of them could read placards calling for violence against women while standing inches away from them, yet they were instantly cured when photos of them posing with the signs hit the press."
Other politicians weighed in on the row.
MP Joanna Cherry said: "I’m sure my colleagues didn’t realise they were standing in front of a hateful sign threatening violence against women and will distance themselves from it.
"I’m due in court again soon to give evidence against a trans rights activist who threatened to kill me."
Chris McEleny, the general secretary of the Alba Party, said: "If only SNP members of Parliament turned out to pro-independence rallies like they do to the rallies they pose in front of 'decapitate terfs' banners."
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."
Yahoo News UK has approached the SNP for comment.