THE far-right Scottish Defence League is to stage demonstrations at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s official residence in Edinburgh and in her Glasgow constituency over the housing of refugees in a move described as “utterly deplorable” by a cabinet minister.

The extremist group planned the series of racist rallies after Scottish Government statistics released last month revealed that a target to provide homes for 2,000 refugees was met three years early.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, the SDL also opportunistically linked the demonstrations to the death of Darren Greenfield, a homeless ex-soldier who died after a period of sleeping rough in Edinburgh.

READ MORE: Inside the Scottish Defence League - the far-right group's racist agenda exposed

However, a spokesman for the far-right group admitted the SDL had not been in contact with Greenfield’s sister who has previously said he repeatedly refused help offered by veterans’ charities. Friends of Greenfield say he would have been disgusted about the SDL trying to hijack his name.

A veterans’ charity that worked with Greenfield has accused the “racist” SDL of “using his death” to promote its agenda, and an anti-fascist group said the SDL is “dishonouring his memory”. Opponents of the organisation branded the moves as ‘sickening’.

The Edinburgh demonstration has also been condemned by the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Veterans, Keith Brown MSP, a former Royal Marine, who said the SDL is “exploiting issues of genuine concern for racist and extremist ends”.

The SDL spokesman confirmed they will demonstrate at Bute House, Sturgeon’s official residence in Edinburgh, on February 4, and they are also planning to march in Govanhill, where Nicola Sturgeon has her constituency office.

Darren Greenfield was often seen begging for change at Waverley Station in Edinburgh before he died on December 17 aged 47 after contracting an infection.

The SDL also said it was also “considering having an anti-grooming gang/paedophile demo in either Govanhill or the four corners area [of Glasgow].”

Cabinet Secretary for Veterans Keith Brown said: “Exploiting issues of genuine concern for racist and extremist ends is utterly deplorable. This kind of attention-seeking behaviour and the SDL’s hateful activities will be firmly opposed by communities across Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as across the whole of Scotland.

“We are confident that the vast majority of people – including the veterans’ community – see through the shameless and disgraceful actions of this group who are seeking to exploit a personal tragedy and other people’s grief for their own despicable ends.”

READ MORE: Inside the Scottish Defence League - the far-right group's racist agenda exposed

The SDL claimed to have the support of charities which work with veterans but refused to reveal the names of the charities.

The spokesman said: “The left-wing media and our opposition will probably try say we are exploiting the veteran’s death.” He added: “Hopefully we will have veterans standing with us on the day wearing their medals.”

Colonel Jim Wilson, General Secretary of charity Veterans Scotland, said: “Darren Greenfield was known to many veterans and he had been supported by many statutory agencies and charities. His tragic and untimely death is very unusual and our thoughts are with his friends and family. It is unfortunate that any organisation seeks to gain political capital from the early death of a former soldier.”

That was confirmed by Greenfield’s sister Asten Robertson has said that he refused help, adding: “We tried to help him. My husband managed to get him a room in a veterans’ residence in Edinburgh. It was just too regimented there for him and he ended up back on the streets.”

READ MORE: Inside the Scottish Defence League - the far-right group's racist agenda exposed

John McFadden, Chairman United Against Fascism Scotland, added: “It’s sickening that the SDL would seek to exploit the death of this vulnerable ex-soldier and dishonour his memory. I’m quite sure the family of this man would reject the SDL’s politics of hate. After all, it was through the efforts of the British forces that the scourge of Nazism was defeated in Europe.”