GLASGOW’S city chambers stood amid a sea of people on Saturday as locals completely encircled the building, demanding solidarity with Gaza.
The miserable weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of more than a thousand demonstrators in George Square who roared so loudly that tremors could be felt around the crowd.
Scottish Jews For a Just Peace spokesman Henry Maitles told the crowd that the Israeli government had long sought to confuse opposition to its attacks with racially motivated hatred.
“But you’re not doing it in our name,” he said to cheers.
The protest, attended by Green, SNP and Labour councillors alike, called on Glasgow’s Labour-led council to join the international Israeli boycott, publicise its links with sister city Bethlehem and hoist the Palestinian flag over council chambers in protest against the Israeli bombardment — an assault that in the past month has launched more than 2,500 air strikes on a region roughly the size of Glasgow.
Palestinian Health Ministry international director Dr Maria Al-Kraa, speaking via satellite phone from Gaza’s emergency operations centre, said that their blood banks had been practically emptied by the number of casualties.
“In order to mitigate this our doctors and nurses are trying to donate their own blood while in surgery, three or four times a week,” she said. “Gaza is bleeding.”
Local Friends of al-Aqsa volunteer Assad Javad said he had just returned from Palestine, where he had met the grieving father of Abu Khdeir — a 14-year-old boy murdered last month by a mob of Israeli settlers.
“They made his son drink petrol, they poured petrol all over him and burned him alive.
“They have not given up the fight for justice. We won’t give up the fight for justice,” he said.
Council leader Gordon Matheson did not attend the protest or respond to the demands that had been publicised in advance, but said in a statement that he personally opposed both the Israeli incursion and the brigades that fired rockets out of Gaza.
More than 1,400 Gazans have been killed by the Israeli assault since it began last month, while just 40 Israeli civilians have been killed by rockets or mortars fired from Gaza in the entire history of the conflict.