NICOLA Sturgeon has condemned a group of protesters who urged visitors from England not to cross the Scottish border. 

The First Minister insisted the small group of activists – some of whom wore hazmat suits and face masks – did not speak for her.

It comes after SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf described the incident as “horrible, reprehensible and vile”.

READ MORE: Quarantine checks to begin for travellers arriving in Scotland

Protesters staged a demonstration on the A1 on Saturday, hanging up a banner reading "Staycation - Keep Scotland Covid-Free" beneath the official Welcome to Scotland sign at the side of the road.

It followed a row over suggestions visitors from the rest of the UK could be asked to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Scotland. 

Ms Sturgeon previously insisted she has no plans to introduce such a move, but has not ruled it out.

Asked about the weekend protest at her daily coronavirus briefing, she said: "The people who protested at the border did not speak for me. 

READ MORE: Letters: Where is the opposition that will halt the SNP surge?

"They were not there on my behalf and they were not there communicating a message that I endorse in any way. 

"In fact, I would emphatically say I don’t endorse that.

“This is not a question about whether people in England are welcome in Scotland.

"Of course they are, just as people in Scotland, hopefully, are welcome in England."

Asked if SNP members who took part in the demo could be kicked out of the party, she said she would not speak about internal processes. 

She added: “I can’t stop people waving SNP banners, but I can be very clear that they don’t speak for us.”

She continued: “Scotland is an open, welcoming country and that kind of protest is not something I condone or endorse in any way, shape or form.”