Thousands of protesters at a pro-Gaza demonstration have staged an impromptu march to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Chanting slogans such as “Free, free Palestine!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, demonstrators marched up The Mound and along Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile as onlookers including tourists watched.

Demonstrations were also held in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Glasgow’s Bath Street had to be closed due to the number of people attending the demonstration at the Buchanan Street steps in the city centre.

Glasgow City Council officials confirmed the street later reopened.

Pictures published by The Herald showed Humza Yousaf’s parents Shaaista Bhutta and Muzaffar Yousaf attending the demonstration in the city.

Israel-Hamas conflictProtesters during a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

In Edinburgh, Palestinian woman Iman, who did not give her last name, said people in Gaza “need a right to freedom and refugees need the right to return”.

She added: “We want justice, we want peace and we want freedom.

“I thank Scotland for not raising the Israeli flag.

“I thank Scotland for standing in solidarity, unconditional solidarity with my people.

“I thank Scotland for its strength to find a safe haven for refugees.

“We need corridors for people to receive medical aid, food and water.”

Six activists with Israel flags attended the demonstration as a counter-protest but they were outnumbered by pro-Palestine activists.

It comes as Palestinians began a mass exodus from northern Gaza after Israel’s military told them to evacuate ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Israel-Hamas conflictA man flies an Israeli flag during a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

The UN, human rights groups and others have been among those expressing deep concern about the impact of Israeli action on civilians, as the death toll continues to grow amid airstrikes and a siege on the territory.

The renewed violence came after an attack last week by the militant group Hamas left hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers dead.

One activist who attended the protest and asked not to be named over fear of ramifications from the political party he is a member of told the PA news agency he was there because there were “no mainstream political party voices” backing Palestinian people.

The Labour Party member hit out at the stance his party leaders had taken towards the escalation of the conflict after Hamas militants attacked Israeli civilians last Saturday.

He said: “I’m here because there are voices in the mainstream of UK politics that are on Palestine’s side, not the UK Government and unfortunately not the opposition.

“I’m happy that other people are here too because I want to show that there are people in the UK who care.”


After speeches concluded at The Mound, protesters then made their way up towards the Royal Mile where they marched to the Scottish Parliament.

Police on motorbikes directed traffic to facilitate the march.

Upon arrival at the parliament building, some activists “took the knee” and held a minute’s silence in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Thousands of activists took part in protests across the UK including London and Manchester.