Pro-Palestine protest outside Aberdeen court planned

PRO-Palestine activists are planing to protest outside a Scottish court in support of one of their members.

Alister Coutts, 56, has been charged in connection with an alleged incident at a shopping centre in Aberdeen earlier this week.

His pending court appearance next week comes amidst the backdrop of a nation-wide campaign by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign against an Israeli linked cosmetics firm.

Mr Coutt’s supporters in the Aberdeen branch of the pro-Palestine organisation claim that he simply stated “viva Palestine” while walking past a Jericho SkinCare make-up stall, in the city’s Union Square mall.

The SPSC claims the cosmetics firm uses minerals extracted from the Dead Sea on the coast of the “illegally occupied” Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

They say that the extraction and commercialisation of resources form an occupied territory breaches UN conventions.

In response, the SPSC has launched a “peaceful” campaign to boycott a number of make-up firms linked to the alleged practice and are lobbying for them to be removed from Scottish shopping centres.

Jericho SkinCare’s website states that the company’s products are “based on Dead Sea minerals”.

According to the Crown Office, Mr Coutt’s court case is due to call at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on September 9.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 56-year-old man has been charged in connection with an incident at Union Square on Tuesday August 16, 2016.

“A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Prosecutors yesterday could not confirm the charges he will face although the Aberdeen branch of the SPSC claim it is in connection with allegations of “acting in a racially aggravated manner”.

A statement from the SPSC, in response to Mr Coutt’s detainment, reads: “Equating legitimate criticism of Israel’s human right abuses to racist behaviour amounts to suppression of freedom of expression and more specifically to intimidation of pro-Palestinian campaigners.

“This is nothing short than a shocking attempt to silence dissent towards the gross breaches of international law and human right abuses perpetrated by the State of Israel.

“At best it is a major attack to Aberdeen’s proud tradition of pluralism.”

A petition calling for the management of two shopping centres in Aberdeen, including Union Square, to distance themselves from Jericho SkinCare has also been launched.