A COALITION of arts workers and Palestine solidarity groups have hosted a “die-in” outside the offices of an investment firm in Edinburgh.

Activists heeded the call of Arts Workers for Palestine and accused Baillie Gifford of funding genocide in Gaza.

They called on bosses to immediately divest from companies involved in the manufacture and upkeep of Israeli security apparatus.

Shannon, a spokesperson for Arts Workers for Palestine and the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, told The National that artists in Scotland did not want to be connected to the firm while it continued to fund these companies.

“Baillie Gifford has £10 billion invested in Israeli security apparatus,” she said. “That is across a wide variety of different investments but there are three big ones on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) list, which means they are directly involved in illegal Israeli settlement building.

“But Baillie Gifford is also one of the largest donors and sponsors of the arts in Scotland. That ranges across National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, the Edinburgh Book Festival and many more.

“So, it means that as an artist but also as a consumer of the arts, I’m complicit in genocide and apartheid if I’m consuming, participating or paying into these institutions.

“We’re calling for Baillie Gifford to divest so that our arts and cultural institutions are not connected to apartheid and genocide.”

Protesters blocked the main entrance to Baillie Gifford’s office on Greenside Row in Edinburgh on Thursday morning, placing blood-stained body bags on the street before hosting a “die-in”.

Chants of “Baillie Gifford, you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide” could be heard as workers for the firm were directed to a side entrance while police watched on from the sidelines.

They also hinted at further targeted action towards cultural institutions in Scotland in the future. 

Susanna, from the Edinburgh University Justice for Palestine Society, said both cultural and academic institutions needed to be pressured on the impact their investments have on people in Palestine.

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She told The National: “It’s essential that all of the cultural and academic institutions in the city are pressured to divest from Israeli apartheid and settlements and the bombs falling on Gaza right now.

“The University of Edinburgh invests more than £40 million in different companies which are complicit in Israeli apartheid and genocide and we’ve been demanding that those funds be immediately divested.

“After Russia invaded Ukraine, all of the companies that were complicit in that conflict were immediately divested from. But, now, they claim they have no control over where their investments lie. We know that’s not true.

“I hope that the nature of what we’re collectively witnessing right now helps put enough pressure on Baillie Gifford to divest.

“Even though we are thousands of miles away, people in Gaza do see when we turn up again and again. They are asking us to witness what they are going through and we’re responding to that call.”

It comes as civilians continue to be killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza, with footage of one man being shot while holding a white flag filmed by ITV on Wednesday.

More than 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since the conflict began on October 7, following an attack by Hamas in Israel which resulted in the deaths of around 1200 people.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has continued to reject calls for the creation of a Palestinian state and said he will “not compromise on full Israeli control” over Gaza.

Baillie Gifford has been contacted for comment.