Israel-Gaza war: Glasgow protestors march for immediate ceasefire

Thousands of people have attended a pro-Palestinian rally in Glasgow to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Demonstrators gathered in the east end of the city at Glasgow Green.

Protesters have held demonstrations in cities and towns across Scotland every weekend since hostilities began in the Middle East last month.

Next week, the Scottish government will lead a debate in Holyrood on the situation after MPs in Westminster voted against a ceasefire.

The SNP tabled the motion on Wednesday which was defeated by 125 votes to 294.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has been vocal in his support for a ceasefire and said he was "beyond angry" with MPs who refused to back an immediate end to the fighting.

Mr Yousaf, who was recently reunited with his Palestinian in-laws after they returned to Scotland after being trapped for four weeks in Gaza, warned MPs who did not back an immediate ceasefire were "on the wrong side of history".

People take part in a march and demonstration in Glasgow demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict
People take part in a march and demonstration in Glasgow demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict

Rabbi Pete Tobias told BBC Scotland News he would love to join a rally like the one in Glasgow, if he thought it was "genuinely" seeking to bring peace to the Middle East.

"But I believe that the framing of these marches as 'pro-Palestinian' and the nature of the banners and chants we see and hear makes them partisan, confrontational and frankly dangerous," he said.

Organisers estimated that around 18,000 people turned out for the pro-Palestinian event in Glasgow, arranged by a coalition of groups called the Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee.

Nadia Boukdir was one of the many people who came out to show their support for Palestine, despite the rain.

Nadia Boukdir holding an umbrella
University student Nadia Boukdir said it had been "very tough" seeing the footage coming out of Gaza

The university student, who is originally from Morocco, is studying for her masters at Strathclyde. She told BBC Scotland News it had been "very tough" seeing the footage coming out of Gaza.

"We're trying our best to just speak and not stay quiet because our friends, our sisters, our brothers are dying, children are dying and families are being destroyed," she said.

Anna, a medical student from Edinburgh who is part of a group called medics for humanitarian justice, was also at the protest. She said she came out to show solidarity with her colleagues in Gaza.

Those attending the rally had been urged to write their names on their arms as a gesture of solidarity with the besieged population of Gaza, who have used the method so they can be identified and buried with relatives if they are killed.

"Our government's response has been abysmal and we're demanding that they call for a ceasefire now to protect our colleagues and their patients in Gaza," Anna said.

"They have been consistently attacking healthcare facilities, hospitals, people accessing aid, people distributing aid. This is beyond a war. This is a genocide and we want it stopped."

Protestors waving Palestinian flags
Protestors waving Palestinian flags

On Friday, Israel's prime minister said Israel was trying to minimise civilian casualties but had been "not successful", which he blamed on Hamas.

In an interview with CBS News, Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas was firing at Palestinians trying to get safety.

More than 11,500 people have been killed in Gaza, Hamas's health ministry says, since Israel went to war after Hamas's attack on 7 October.

Sammy Stein, who chairs Glasgow Friends of Israel, said his group advocated for peace and supported both the Palestinian and Israeli people.

"We advocate for both people to have their own homeland, which is quite unusual because nobody else, certainly on this street and around the UK that advocates for both sides," he said.

"They tend to be either pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian. We believe that you cannot have peace for one side and therefore if you want peace you need to have peace for both sides."

Sammy Stein
Sammy Stein said his group advocated for peace and supported both the Palestinian and Israeli people

Mr Stein said he thinks many of the people who have attend the demonstrations in Glasgow over the last few weeks have been genuine in their pursuit of peace.

"But many of them do not understand the complications of the conflict," he said.

"Now it's all very well for people to walk up and down with banners saying ceasefire unfortunately we know from what Hamas has said that they are not prepared to stop."

He added that he thought there was no point calling for a ceasefire if "you know that one side is not going to honour that ceasefire".

But that has not stopped similar protests taking place across the UK demanding an end to the fighting, with one in Aberdeen and another in Oxford.

On Friday, hundreds joined a school strike for Palestine, with rallies held in Glasgow, London and Bristol as part of a number of school walkouts organised by the campaign group Stop the War Coalition.

Scottish Greens councillor Blair Anderson said on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, that there would be "no punitive action" for any of the Glasgow schoolchildren who attended the rally.

A number of pro-Palestinian marches were also held across Scotland on Armistice Sunday last weekend.

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