Public right to protest protected if Trump visits Scotland, minister claims
17 May 2018, 18:36
Policing of any visit to Scotland by Donald Trump will maintain the "important right to protest peacefully", the Community Safety Minister has pledged,
Annabelle Ewing said the Scottish Government had not been advised over whether the outspoken US president will travel north when he comes to the UK in July.
But she stressed Scotland's "proud and longstanding tradition of peaceful protest" would be maintained if he does.
Mr Trump has several connections to Scotland, owning golf resorts in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire, and his mother was born in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides before emigrating to America.
Ms Ewing said: "At this time the Scottish Government has not been advised by the UK government of any proposed visit to Scotland.
"However we do remain in contact regarding the development of the itinerary for the President's visit."
Green MSP Patrick Harvie said many Scots would want to express "their revulsion at the racism, the misogyny, the climate denial and the litany of lies President Trump is responsible for".
And he asked Ms Ewing to "ensure the right to protest is not restricted in the event of a visit to Scotland by Donald Trump".
She told him: "There is no law in Scotland stopping people from protesting in peaceful manner.
"Police Scotland has confirmed arrangements are in place to police any visit in a way that maintains the public's right to protest peacefully, whilst enforcing existing laws as necessary."
While she said Scotland had "deep and longstanding" ties with America, she stressed the country's "fundamental values of equality, diversity and human rights".
Ms Ewing added: "In which ever part of the UK the proposed presidential visit takes place, we would expect those values to be made clear.
"It is well documented that the Scottish Government has disagreed with many of the actions taken by the administration of President Trump. I think the list is a bit too long to mention at this particular point.
"On the nature of any policing operation, obviously that is an operational matter for the police.
"But as I said Police Scotland has confirmed that arrangements would be in place to police any visit in a way that maintains the public's important right to protest peacefully, whilst enforcing the existing laws that are necessary.
"Scotland of course has a very proud and longstanding tradition of peaceful protest and I can assure the member that will continue."