Hundreds march on Scottish Parliament in protest against Gaza action

Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, general view (autumn)
Rally: The protest march set off from Charlotte Square.LHOON

Hundreds of people have taken part in a rally in Edinburgh in support of the Palestinian people after Israel launched a major offensive against the Hamas administration.

Protesters carried banners and flags condemning the actions of the Israeli state as they marched from the First Minister's official residence, Bute House in Charlotte Square, to the Scottish Parliament.

Israel launched almost 200 airstrikes destroying targets including the prime minister's headquarters early on Saturday morning in response to militant rocket attacks which hit Jerusalem for the first time.

At least 39 Palestinians and three Israelis are known to have died since Wednesday.

A statement from the We Are All Hana Shalabi network said: "The actions of the Israeli state in Gaza are abhorrent.

"The death toll is rising, and every indication is that a ground invasion is imminent.

"This will lead to an intolerable loss of life. The actions of Israel clearly contradict international law."

The march in Edinburgh received support from groups including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War, organisers said.

A smaller-scale demonstration was organised in St Nicholas Square in Aberdeen.

Dave Moxham, deputy secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, is expected to speak at the rally which has received the support of a dozen groups including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War, organisers said.

Israel claims its action is necessary to weaken Hamas's capability and protect its citizens from rocket attacks by militants.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday urged both Israel and the Palestinians to make efforts to halt the violence in Gaza.

Mr Hague told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The thing that would bring this most quickly to an end would be for Hamas to stop launching rockets at Israel.

"But of course, there are also responsibilities on Israel."

The Foreign Secretary said he had spoken to his Israeli counterpart to urge the Israelis "to do their utmost to reduce tension, to take every opportunity to de-escalate the situation and observe international humanitarian law, to avoid civilian casualties.

"Both sides have a responsibility to try to bring this to an end."

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