EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 18 (UPI) -- United Kingdom Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage Friday called the Scottish nationalists who interrupted his Edinburgh news conference "fascist scum."
In an angry interview with BBC Scotland, Farage said Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who heads the Scottish National Party, should condemn the protesters' behavior, The Guardian reported. Farage had to leave the Canon's Gait pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile in a police van Thursday after about 100 demonstrators trapped him in the building, accusing him of racism and homophobia.
"The fact that 50 yobbo, fascist scum turn up and aren't prepared to listen to debate I absolutely refuse to believe is representative of Scottish public opinion. It is not," he said. "If this is the face of Scottish nationalism, it's a pretty ugly picture."
Salmond responded to Farage's demand with a suggestion the UKIP leader is over-reacting, the Financial Times reported.
"If there has been any lawbreaking -- and that is yet to be established -- then obviously we condemn that ... but you have got to get things into context. A student demonstration ain't the Dreyfus trial," Salmond said. "We can frankly do without UKIP, who dislike everybody and know absolutely nothing about Scotland."
Since the 2010 general election, UKIP has gained a lot of ground in England, especially in the recent local elections for county councils. In a by-election Thursday for a council seat in Rotherham in South Yorkshire, the UKIP candidate won what had been thought to be a safe seat for the Labor Party, the BBC reported.
UKIP has also made inroads in Wales and Northern Ireland but has failed to make much of a dent in Scotland. A poll in early May found only two among 1,001 respondents in Scotland who said they would vote for the party, The Guardian reported.
Farage was trying to change that with his Scottish trip, designed to support a UKIP candidate in a by-election for the Scottish Parliament.