Glasgow and Strathclyde students have joined a series of demonstrations condemning Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.
The demonstrations, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, and supported by various other groups, have resulted in thousands of people turning out to protest all over the country.
Saturday January 3 saw an estimated 4000 people march through Glasgow’s city centre in support of the Palestinian people. The rally was addressed by speakers from all of the main political parties with the exception of the Conservatives.
Barrie Levine, a member of ‘Scottish Jews for a Just Peace’, described his reasons for protesting.
He said: “The collective punishment of the Palestinian population, first through the siege of Gaza and now through large-scale military attack in dense urban areas, is a brutal action that flies in the face of international humanitarian law — and of Jewish law.”
Glasgow students joined mass demonstrations in both London and Edinburgh on January 10, when 10,000 protesters marched through the streets of the Scottish capital and threw shoes at the US consulate building, chanting “George Bush we hate you. We will hit you with our shoes.”
In London rioting broke out after demonstrators marched from Hyde Park to the Israeli embassy building. Shops were vandalised and protesters threw projectiles at police lines.
According to Julie Sherry, a Glasgow University student who was at the demonstration, the police behaved violently towards some of the protestors.
She said: “The police were aggressive and very heavy-handed. They repeatedly charged at us with batons.”
Lindsay German, National Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, explained that, despite opposition, protests against the Israeli Government would continue.
She said: “As long as there is violence in Gaza, we will continue to protest outside the Israeli embassy.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Service said that the police had not received any formal allegations of police brutality and that their response was appropriate. Twenty-four arrests were made during the London demonstration, where five police officers and numerous protestors were injured.
On January 17, Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire and, the following day, Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on the condition that all Israeli soldiers leave Gaza over the next week.