A march through central Edinburgh by a couple of thousand people brought the public transport system in the city centre to a halt, but it was nonetheless a peaceful show of support for those in Gaza caught up in a crisis situation who they wish to help.
The protesters marched from The Mound along Princes Street to the First Minister’s residence at Bute House in Charlotte Square. There was a temporary delay on Princes Street as it was hoped the protesters would be persuaded away from Princes Street to George Street, but they pressed on to the West End, causing all public transport to be diverted or brought to a halt.
Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar and Malcolm Chisholm MSP both addressed the crowds from the back of a pick-up truck outside Bute House.
If they had found the First Minister at home they would have had some support from him as he called only yesterday evening for the UK Government to do more to help those caught up in Gaza.
Alex Salmond wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday calling on him to show equal determination in the UK Government’s approach to the situation in Gaza as they have shown in regard to the atrocity involving Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
In particular Mr Salmond called on the UK Government to make a stronger and more urgent response to the crisis in Gaza and – further to the statement by Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, about the failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants – to support an UN investigation.
Commenting, Mr Salmond said: “The UK rightly called for a UN resolution to guarantee unfettered access to the crash site of flight MH17 and I was pleased to see this gained the support of the Security Council. It is imperative that an international investigation into the cause of the crash proceeds swiftly and effectively, and that the results of that investigation are appropriately acted upon.
“The efforts of the international community, working in concert, reflect the real benefits of a multilateral approach to matters of global security.
“It is with that cooperative spirit in mind that I have urged the UK Government to demonstrate equal determination in cooperating with international partners to resolve the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Middle East.
“The ground offensive in Gaza is a serious and worrying development. The lives lost in this conflict are individual human tragedies and the killing of innocent civilians, be they Palestinian or Israeli, is to be utterly condemned.
“The UN Security Council has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, emphasising the need to improve the humanitarian situation, and I add my voice to theirs to reiterate that, in the view of the Scottish Government, the rocket attacks on Israel are unacceptable and should stop, as should the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
“The situation in Gaza represents a humanitarian crisis of grave proportions. More than 800 people, most of them civilians, have already lost their lives and over 5,000 have been injured. The UN states that more 118,000 Gazans are sheltering in UN schools. The attack on the school in Beit Hanoun on 24 July, condemned by the UN Secretary General, only serves to underline the desperate need for international action to stop the killing of innocent civilians.”
Today, the protest in Edinburgh which had been promoted on Facebook here.
Ahead if the event Mr Ali said: “We are expecting over 2000 people to attend this demonstration with many people who are not connected to social media also attending. ”
Our video report follows although there are short bursts of video on Instagram here like this one below.