FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned placards held behind SNP politicians at a trans rights protest following the UK Government's deployment of a Section 35 order. 

Speaking at a press conference in St Andrews House in Edinburgh, the FM said that she has attended many demonstrations during her time in politics, adding she had seen many placards that "would not align with my views on the topic of demonstration".

SNP MPs Stewart McDonald, Alison Thewliss and Kirsten Oswald, as well as MSP Kaukab Stewart, were photographed on Buchanan Street Steps in Glasgow. Two signs in the background of the photograph caused outrage over the weekend, one of which read, "decapitate TERFS,". 

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The FM said that she outright condemns the message in the placards, and defended the SNP politicians who were photographed with it in the background.

She told journalists: "I think all politicians have an obligation to contribute to debate that is civil and respectful, and that's a responsibility I take seriously and would expect all members of my government and all elected members of my party to take seriously as well. 

"That said, and I've attended many demonstrations over my many years in politics now, and probably on all of them I've seen placards or signs that would not align with my views on the topic of the demonstration and certainly from the images I have seen that was the case at the demonstration on trans rights on Saturday. 

"The placards that I have seen in no way, absolutely no way shape or form accord with my views, and I would condemn the way in which those views were expressed and the views that were expressed there.

"I don't think it is fair or credible to suggest that the elected representatives who were there in any way share or condone those views."

The FM added that there are generally numerous views represented at political rallies, not all of which attendees would agree with.

She added: "I've seen images over the last couple of weeks from demonstrations against the gender recognition reform bill outside parliament, where there have been placards, signs, that I've seen certainly seen images on social media about me that were offensive and in my view, although I’m subjective about these things perhaps, that they were completely unacceptable.

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"So you know, I think we've all got a responsibility to express ourselves particularly elected representatives in ways that we think are appropriate and I would certainly say that that applies to me and to others in my party."

The First Minister was referencing a protest on January 12 outside of Holyrood which saw hundreds of anti-gender reform protesters gather calling for the bill to be stopped. 

The gathering was organised by the Scottish Family Party and supporters of the Glasgow Cabbie, who has previously expressed scepticism against Covid-19 vaccines, and many protesters held placards targetting the FM.