Thousands of people are expected to attend vigils for Syrian refugees in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as pressure mounts on Prime Minister David Cameron to allow more refugees into Britain.

So far 3,800 people have said they will attend a planned vigil in George Square, organised via Facebook, on Saturday September 12, and similar vigils are now to take place at the Scottish Parliament and around the UK on the same day, after the event went viral on social media.

Organisers say the events are designed to send "a peaceful message of support to all of the refugees who have died, fled their homes and lost their families as a result of the Syrian war".

The vigils are also intended to demonstrate public opinion ahead of Home Secretary Theresa May's visit to Brussels on September 14, where she will discuss the refugee crisis with her 27 EU counterparts.

The original Glasgow Sees Syria event was launched by mother-of-two and choir leader Alexis Stearns as a Glasgow-only event.

Her Facebook message said: “I am going to stand in George Square, opposite the City Chambers. I am going to bring a candle so I can light a light for the many who have died in their attempts at safety while our government has done very little.

“If you would like to join me in peacefully telling our councillors that the people of Glasgow will not abide the Home Office decision to help so few Syrians I would love to see you there with a candle.”

Ms Stearns said the response showed the public were angry at how little has been done and wanted to express their desire to resettle more refugees in the country.

She added: “Social media is doing what it does best: spreading a grass-roots demonstration like wildfire across the UK. As a wealthy country, many of our citizens want to register their disgust at how little our government is doing to tackle a very serious situation.

"We hope that other towns and cities will now be inspired to launch events so that we can send a message from every corner of the country.”

Fuad Alakbarov, a Glasgow refugee campaigner said: "There is a Scotland that is represented by people of compassion and people of welcome and people who believe in the fundamental principles of human rights."

A second group, Scotland Supporting Refugees, has also been set up, headed by SNP Holyrood election candidate Julie Hepburn as a grassroots public demand for action over the European refugee crisis grows.

The group said it had been founded to raise awareness but also provide direct help: "Two of our committee members will shortly be travelling to Greece and Calais, to take supplies directly to refugee camps," a spokeperson said on Facebook. "We need your support to fund these initial trips, which will provide much needed relief, but also valuable insight into what help will be most effective over the coming weeks and months."

A petition to the UK parliament demanding more support for refugees and for more to be allowed into Britain will be heard at Westminster, having soared past the 100,000 signatories mark needed to trigger a debate. Currently more than 157,000 people have signed it.