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Pro-Palestine protesters stand in solidarity with Palestinian women

Hundreds of pro-Palestine supporters have marched in Edinburgh and Glasgow calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) organised the protest on Saturday, following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 in which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

Activists have gathered in the two cities every Saturday since October 7 to protest against Israel’s actions towards civilians in Gaza.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Protesters during a pro-Palestine rally in Edinburgh organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, calling for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas (Jane Barlow/PA)

Saturday’s protests fall after International Women’s Day, with organisers calling on demonstrators to “stand in solidarity with Palestinian women”.

Protesters could be seen holding signs with slogans such as: “Gaza is a war on women” and “Israel kills two mothers every hour” in Edinburgh.

The protests come after five activists from direct action group This Is Rigged were arrested on Wednesday after they sprayed red pain on Queen Elizabeth House, the UK Government’s office in Edinburgh.

They also scaled the building on Wednesday morning and removed the union flag from the roof, replacing it with a Palestinian one.

A fire extinguisher full of red paint was used to spray the front of the building in Sibbald Walk and water balloons containing red paint were thrown at the UK Government crest.

This Is Rigged said it is targeting the UK Government because of its position on the war in Gaza after Israel began its military operation last year, accusing ministers of being “complicit” in the conflict.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Handout photo issued by This is Rigged of Queen Elizabeth house, the UK Government offices in Edinburgh, after its campaigners sprayed red paint in protest against Israel’s military action in Gaza (This Is Rigged/PA).

The UK Government has resisted calls to back an immediate ceasefire and previously abstained on UN resolutions demanding one.

This week, Downing Street said it wants to see a “sustained humanitarian pause” agreed as quickly as possible to allow the safe release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and a significant increase in aid to Gaza.

Last week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned that democracy is being targeted by extremists and said there are “forces here at home trying to tear us apart”.

Mr Sunak, in a message aimed at those taking part in pro-Palestine protests, urged people to reject extremist messages.

Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, responded to the Prime Minister’s address by suggesting he “look in the mirror” and expel some senior MPs from his party.