SCOTS are urged to stand up to racism after the country's only memorial to Roma victims of the Holocaust was destroyed.

The Romani Rose Tree Memorial was planted in Glasgow, home of majority of the country's 5000-strong Roma community, just three months ago.

The August 2 installation marked Roma Genocide Memorial Day, which remembers the countless Roma lives lost to Nazi persecution.

Due to an absence of reliable population data before the horror, it is not known how many Roma died in the atrocities.

However, estimates range from 300,000 to more than 1million.

Thought to be the only one of its kind in Scotland, the red-flowered tribute was placed in Queen's Park, Govanhill, with a plaque bearing a dedication "to all those Roma who were murdered during the Holocaust".

But the memorial was desecrated over the weekend, with the plaque broken.

The news was announced on social media by charity Romano Lav, which supports the Roma community and says it is "disgusted by this act of vandalism".

In a statement, the group said: "We at Romano Lav are disgusted by this act of vandalism.

“We will not tolerate racism, intimidation, or intolerance directed towards our Roma communities, or indeed towards anyone else.”

The statement continued: "Roma Genocide Memorial Day is about remembrance, but it is also about resistance. That this hateful act occurred at all underscores the need for this memorial. We will continue to honour the memory of those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, while fighting against the racism that marks our contemporary political moment, and that is a scourge on our society and communities.

"We will restore the Holocaust memorial to its original condition and we call upon all of our friends, neighbours and allies – locally and internationally – to stand in solidarity with our Roma communities and join us in resisting racism, today an every day."

The statement was met with an outpouring of support on social media, with some calling the vandalism "disgraceful" and "appalling".

The Roma genocide is sometimes referred to as the "forgotten Holocaust" and no Roma witnesses gave evidence at the post-war Nuremberg trials.

In 1950 the Wurttemburg Ministry for the Interior advised German judges hearing claims for restitution that Roma were not persecuted "any racial reason, but because of an asocial and criminal record".

Crimes against this people were not officially recognised by German authorities until the 1980s and it took until 2012 for a memorial to the Roma Genocide to be unveiled in Berlin.

Roma Genocide Memorial Day, which also includes the Sinti people, is now observed by countries including Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The date commemorates the murder of more than 4000 Roma people at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in one day in 1944.

Commenting on the vandalism of the memorial, anti-discrimination charity Stand Up To Racism said: “To desecrate the memory of the Roma and Gypsy people’s suffering in the Holocaust is an outrage that all Glaswegians, bar the mindless perpetrators of this attack, will oppose.

“As part of a heightened atmosphere of racism across Europe we've seen violent attacks on Roma people in Italy and elsewhere alongside the growth of the far right.

“Racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism are at the centre of the racist and fascist right’s agenda.

“Just like in the 1930s, the Roma people are also becoming a target.

“We stand with our Roma neighbours and friends and condemn this.”