Police Scotland have said they are treating the behaviour of a Liberal Party candidate and supporters who confronted the Scottish Justice Secretary at an election count as a hate incident.
Humza Yousaf said Liberal Party candidate Derek Jackson and supporters – who arrived at the Glasgow count on Friday wearing black suits, yellow stars and armbands – made a “beeline” for him and asked him about “child rape victims in Pakistan”, as well as the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Bill.
Mr Jackson and his five backers were escorted from the building by police.
Police Superintendent Gerry Corrigan said: “We did not receive a complaint of criminality. However, officers carried out a thorough investigation into the behaviour of six people who were escorted from the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, on Friday May 7.
“No crime was established but Police Scotland will record this as a hate incident.
“This is any incident which is perceived by someone to be motivated by malice or ill-will towards a particular group, but which does not amount to a criminal offence.”
Mr Jackson won just 102 votes in the election.
Returning officer Annemarie O’Donnell revoked Mr Jackson’s pass for the election count after becoming concerned over his behaviour and he and his supporters were escorted from the Emirates Arena by police and security staff.
Mr Jackson, who is also known as Deek Jackson, stood for the Liberal Party – a small group unconnected to the Liberal Democrats.
After confronting Mr Yousaf, he was suspended from the party and will not be allowed to re-join.
His actions “in no way whatsoever resonate with any of the party’s values”, said party spokesman Kayed Al-Haddad.
Mr Al-Haddad said: “He was vetted by the party via phone call, not face-to-face due to the pandemic. Everything seemed fine. But basically he has hijacked the party to further his own ends.
“We have come to realise he has actually done similar things in the past. He won’t be allowed back in.”
Speaking to reporters after the incident, Mr Yousaf said: “What I’m always struck by is voices of good always outweigh the voices of hatred.
“If anyone witnessed that exchange there – when they were directing questions at me about Pakistan, obviously because of my colour of skin – I’m not from Pakistan, my home is in Scotland.
“I was delighted to be joined by colleagues right across the political parties, from Labour and other parties, standing in unity with me.
“So I’m pleased their voices were drowned out.”