A group of pro-independence activists 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. Mr Carlaw said no-one should be “put off” visiting Scotland. Police were called to the layby and the protesters were given “suitable advice.”
Speaking on the Sunday Politics Scotland show, Mr Carlaw added: “We’ve got to change the language because the scenes we saw on the border yesterday afternoon were an absolute disgrace.
“Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t yet, and if she’s watching now I really do hope even belatedly she will come out and stop that kind of rhetoric and language.
“We need people to come safely to Scotland to visit and to stay here on holiday and we should be encouraging that, not putting people off.”
Asked by the BBC’s Gordon Brewer if the protest was just a few people “clowning around”, he said: “It is but these send messages out.
“We need to do everything we can to support our industry as best we can.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, a member of the SNP, tweeted that the protest was “horrible, reprehensible and vile”, adding that “these morons don’t represent the Scotland I know and love”.
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He tweeted: “The CaGhouls at the Scottish border shouting obscenities at English travellers was a nightmarish glimpse of an SNP future.
“Mutually assured destruction both of Britain and any Scotland we’d want to live in.
“Time is short to get off this low-road. #Unity @WPB_Scotland #Scotland”.
Opinion was divided on social media.
Sharon Smith commented: “If it wasn’t for the decent people of Scotland I would protest to have a massive border wall to keep you and the SNP rabble out of the rest of the UK.
“You’re always bleating on but I hope you realise how many people want you to have Indy 2 and win it’s not just the SNP.”
However, another user said: “I don’t get the strong condemnation of the protest at the Scottish border, also from SNP politicians.
“Do we want people from this crowd to come to Scotland next week, Corona and all?
“I know I don’t! I’ve just been allowed out from shielding a wee bit they’ll send me straight back.”