An anti-mask group have been banned from an Edinburgh park after calling a pair of schoolgirls wearing face coverings the Hitler Youth.
Edinburgh Resistance 2020, a conspiracy theorist group, is no longer allowed to enter the Meadows in Edinburgh.
The group protest against Covid-19 safety measures and two members are said to have berated the teens, aged 14 and 15, and telling them wearing face masks was “akin to wearing a swastika”.
The City of Edinburgh Council has now instructed park rangers to boot them out of the Meadows if they show up again.
Politicians have called for the group to be reported to the police.
The girls, who were verbally abused on August 8, said they felt “threatened” by the 25 to 30 year-old adults, despite telling them they were under 18.
The pair said they had initially approached the group to discuss their protest.
They said: “Two people approached us and began verbally harassing us, saying that we were slaves to fear and telling us that we were like the Hitler Youth for wearing masks and that wearing a mask was akin to wearing a swastika or doing the Hitler salute.
“We felt a bit threatened because there was a large group of adults and two of us who are both quite small.
“I just think you always have to stick up for what you believe in.
“They’re entitled to their own opinion but when that opinion can start to possibly endanger people I think that’s when you’ve got to say something.
“If people took what they were saying to heart it could endanger their lives.”
The group has been seen several times on the Meadows with stalls displaying posters and flyers, trying to encouarge people not to wear masks.
Members believe the lockdown restrictions are a fabrication of the government and media organisations.
The City of Edinburgh Council confirmed the group was not granted permission to set up stalls on the Meadows, and that park rangers will take action if they return.
Daniel Johnson, Edinburgh Southern MSP, condemned the behaviour as “completely wrong” and urged anyone encountering them to call Police Scotland.
Miles Briggs, the Conservative Lothian MSP, said: “People have the right to protest, but if young people are being intimidated and harassed for following official guidance and helping reduce the spread of coronavirus, then these conspiracy theorists should be reported to the police.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “At this time we are not aware of any incidents involving this group, however, we have officers patrolling the Meadows on a regular basis and will continue to do so.
“We would encourage anyone who has any criminal concerns about the behaviour of others to approach those officers or call police via 101.
“The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.
“Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance.
“We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.”