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Protest against hate crime legislation takes place outside Scottish Parliament

Around 300 individuals rallied outside the Scottish Parliament, protesting against new hate crime laws they labeled "totalitarian" and a tool for bigots, fearing the legislation might spur retaliatory accusations.
Protesters displayed a coffin inscribed with "We hate hate crime laws" alongside masks of SNP's Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Greens' Patrick Harvie, symbolizing their grievance.

Concerns were raised about the act's potential to stifle free expression, with slogans like "Truth is not hate speech" and "Protect free speech" among the placards.

Artist Mark Leslie criticized the law for potentially empowering bigots and undermining the principles of the Scottish Enlightenment, which advocated for freedom of speech free from church and state influence.

Sally Wainwright, representing Scottish Lesbians, expressed fears that the law could silence discussions on women-only spaces and negatively affect lesbian visibility. She criticized the government's focus, contrasting it with pressing issues like drug-related deaths and infrastructure.

Gender-critical activist, Lisa from Edinburgh, likened the situation to oppressive regimes, indicating the law's subjective nature might confuse 'hate' with 'offense.'

Nick Mitchell, prepared to legally challenge the law based on human rights, carried a sign asserting his right to free speech, denouncing the legislation as indicative of a "totalitarian" state.

The Scottish Family Party, which organized the symbolic funeral for free speech, underscored the protestors' sentiment that the legislation marks the end of open dialogue in Scotland.

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