Five arrested after scaling Scottish Parliament roof in demonstration over Israel-Hamas war
Five people have been arrested after a group of pro-Palestinian protestors have been arrested after spending the day on the roof of the Scottish Parliament, saying the Scottish Government could “do much more” to stop the conflict in Gaza.
Palestinian flags and a banner bearing the words ‘Stop Arming Israel’ were erected onto the front of Holyrood, with one of the protestors saying they were demonstrating against the “Scottish Government funding the arming of Israel”.
The Scotsman was told the protestors had scaled up the south side of the parliament building, close to Arthur’s Seat.
The demonstrators said the government “could do more than they are”, adding: “We have deep concerns that humanity is standing by watching genocide happen.”
One of the protestors, called Jac, spoke to The Scotsman from the roof of the Parliament and said it had not been “hugely risky” to scale the building.
She said: “We are here to highlight the reality to the Scottish Parliament and the general public of what is taking place in Gaza, and the reality of the international implications and complicity.
“We want to put pressure on the Parliament to do much more than they already are doing, and take a stance to resist genocide.”
The Scottish Government previously said it was in favour of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, but Jac said while this was a “positive step”, they claim the Government needed to stop the alleged funding of weapons manufacturing in the UK.
Jac said while they were not a member of any particular campaign group, they were acting on behalf of a call to action by the Workers for Palestine group.
She said: “A few people on their own can’t make much of a difference, but there are thousands and thousands out on the streets protesting. If we all work together collectively, it will make a huge difference.
“We all understand ourselves as part of the international world, and that includes the whole of the Middle East, not just Israel and Palestine.”
She also accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of “caving to some very powerful interests” and said they “have no spine to stand up” to the “slaughter” that is happening in the region.
Both Mr Sunak and Sir Keir have called for a humanitarian pause in the conflict as opposed to an outright ceasefire, saying they support the notion that Israel has a right to defend herself.
Sir Keir has also warned a ceasefire would give Hamas more opportunities to attack Israel. The group of protestors also said First Minister Humza Yousaf could be doing more to stop the conflict as well.
Mr Yousaf has repeatedly called for a ceasefire, and his in-laws had been trapped in Gaza for weeks. His relatives were able to make it to safety through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, and arrived back home in Dundee earlier this week.
Jac said: “We can see a lot of reflection and obviously there is a huge personal connection there for Humza Yousaf. There is a much more genuine attempt to engage, but actions speak louder than words.
“This is not about the leader of a party, this is about us saying collectively as a nation we want to stop this.”
Police Scotland, who cordoned off an area on the ground directly beneath where they were standing, have since confirmed all five members of the group were arrested once they made their way back down to ground level.
A police spokeswoman said: “Five people have been arrested following protest activity on a roof area of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh which took place on Thursday 9 November 2023.”
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