POLICE Scotland has launched a probe after complaints about a sign at a pro-trans rally reading “Decapitate Terfs.”

The placard - which also included a drawing of a guillotine - came to prominence on social media yesterday after it featured in images and video of SNP politicians attending the rally, including MSP Kaukab Stewart, and MPs Stewart McDonald, Alison Thewliss and Kirsten Oswald. 

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said he had reported the sign to the police, saying carrying it was "clearly a hate crime and a public order offence". 

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’?”

His party colleage Jamie Halcro-Johnston said the picture was “shameful”.

He tweeted: “Scotland in 2023 - where SNP politicians stand smiling in front of a banner which calls for violence against women. Shameful.”

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.

Their Westminster colleague 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.”


Ms 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."

Ms Stewart said: "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."

Ms Thewliss said she had not seen the sign and that if she had she would "have told the person involved how inappropriate and offensive it was, and to get rid of it."

Mr McDonald tweeted: "The violent sign at yesterday’s rally is utterly heinous and condemned without question. I suspect it may even be unlawful.

"The moron who made it and is holding it has done those protesting for trans equality and democracy no favours - quite the opposite."


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."

Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We received a report regarding a sign which was displayed during a rally on Buchanan Street, Glasgow on Saturday, 21 January, 2023. Enquiries are ongoing."