Anti-windfarm campaigners warned Alex Salmond that his renewable energy policy could cost him Scottish independence.
Several hundred demonstrators marched on the SNP conference on Saturday in what was seen as a new militancy among groups objecting to the turbines. The event was timed to coincide with the first minister’s keynote speech to rally party members and extol the perceived virtues of separation.
One of the organisers, Linda Holt, said: “Today proves windfarms are a political problem which the government ignores at its peril. Every new windfarm costs the first minister, the SNP government and ultimately the independence campaign, support.
“Folk here are questioning whether they can trust a leader and a party that oversees what some are calling a Second Clearance in the name of a white elephant technology which can never deliver what it promises.”
The march attracted about 450 people from across Scotland. A blimp – used in a protest against a windfarm planned for Kiltarlity, near Inverness – was flown above the conference venue to demonstrate the height of turbines.
George Herraghty, of Lhanbryde, Moray, a member of Moray Mountaineering Club and the John Muir Trust, said: “Our children will inherit this environmental devastation.”
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing met demonstrators who demanded a moratorium on new windfarms.