ALEX Salmond has launched an outspoken attack on Nigel Farage after the Ukip leader blamed "racist" and "anti-English" independence supporters for disrupting an event in Edinburgh.

The First Minister said Scotland could "do without Ukip" as an angry street demonstration against the party sparked a major political row yesterday.

Mr Farage was at the centre of chaotic and occasionally comical scenes on Thursday when a press conference in a Royal Mile pub was hijacked by protesters who included the Radical Independence Campaign, a loose coalition of left-wing nationalists.

He had to be locked in the Canons' Gait bar for his own safety before being rescued by a police riot van as demonstrators shouted "racist scumbag" and "leave Scotland, go back to England".

Impolitic: read our new politics blogger Andy Bollen on the Farage furore

The MEP, who has demanded tighter immigration curbs, hit back during a telephone interview on BBC Radio Scotland.

He said: "It was a demonstration dressed up as being anti-racism but in fact was in itself deeply racist, with a total hatred of the English and a desire for Scotland to be independent from Westminster.

"If this is the face of Scottish nationalism, it's a pretty ugly picture. The anger, the snarling, the shouting, the swearing was all linked to a desire for the Union Jack to be burnt and extinguished from Scotland forever."

He added: "I have heard before there are some parts of Scottish nationalism that are akin to fascism but yesterday I saw that face to face."

Mr Farage hung up in protest at what he called "insulting" questions about Ukip's right to campaign in Scotland, but not before challenging Alex Salmond to "speak out against this attack on free speech".

Mr Salmond dismissed Mr Farage's comments, saying they showed it would be a mistake to take "somebody of that mentality with any degree of seriousness".

He added: "We can frankly do without Ukip, who dislike everybody and know absolutely nothing about Scotland.

"If there's been any law-breaking – and that's yet to be established – then obviously we condemn that, as we always do in Scotland, but you've got to get things into context."

Ukip faced criticism last month after a number of its English council election candidates were exposed as having previous links with far-right parties.

Around 100 demonstrators took part in the Edinburgh protest, haranguing Mr Farage in the pub, unfurling banners and chanting on the streets outside and surrounding a taxi that refused to take him from the scene.

Police cordoned off a section of the Royal Mile as they tried to maintain order. Two men were arrested during the protest for alleged assault and breach of the peace.

Radical Independence Campaign spokesman Liam O'Hare rejected Mr Farage's claims, saying: "Farage's attempts to paint our protest as anti-English is pathetic. Our vision is for a Scotland that welcomes people from across the world, including England."

Yes Scotland, the cross-party pro-independence campaign, distanced itself from the protest, saying it was unaware the Ukip leader was holding a press conference.

But Scottish Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said: "Alex Salmond simply pays lip service when it comes to condemning abusive language in his own party.

"Yesterday's abuse handed out by separatists was another shameless example of the lengths they will go to to hijack the independence debate in Scotland.

"If such abusive comments are allowed to continue unchecked, the next 18 months will descend into little more than an anti- British hate campaign." The Ukip leader was in Scotland to meet key supporters and raise the party's profile ahead of the Aberdeen Donside Scottish by-election on June 20.

The anti-EU party gained 23% of the vote in recent English council elections, coming close to the Conservatives and pushing the LibDems into fourth place. Despite its success down south, the party has so far failed to make a breakthrough north of the Border.