A GROUP of pro-Palestine activists have set up a “solidarity encampment” outside the Scottish Parliament.

Campaigners with the Gaza Solidarity Camp Scotland have said they are doing so in protest over “Scottish and UK government’s complicity in genocide”.

The group has issued a list of demands and has vowed to remain at the Parliament until they are met.

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Demonstrators have said “the liberated zone is a site of our resistance and knowledge building” and that the camp is there to “create a space for radical education, to learn from and with each other”.

“We are here to create spaces for us to share in our grief, knowledge, life and resistance, in order to build a lasting movement that fights against all injustice and towards liberation”.

The group has called on others to come and join them and for people to bring “camping equipment, eating utensils and anything you think you would need to camp out”.

The list of demands include:

  • An embargo on all arms sales to Israel
  • Divestment of Scottish entities from Israeli businesses
  • Formal recognition of the “genocide of Palestinians”
  • Academic divestment of Scottish universities from Israel
  • Protection of the right to protest in Scotland

University of Edinburgh student Oliver is among those taking part in the camp and he commented: “If elected officials think that they have the power to act with impunity while ignoring our calls, letters and marches, then we have no choice but to escalate the scale of our peaceful action.”

Elsewhere, Edinburgh resident Margena said it was “our responsibility to intervene against actions of our elected officials and local arms manufacturers that contribute to an active genocide”.

It follows similar action taken at a number of universities in the US this week with dozens of pro-Palestine protesters arrested at New York University and Yale. 

More than 100 demonstrators who camped out on Columbia's green were also arrested. 

The UK Government has come under pressure to stop selling arms to Israel in recent weeks, with Mhairi Black raising the issue at PMQs on Wednesday

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about how UK arms sales work

The Prime Minister said earlier this week that investments in weapons firms are to be considered “ethical” under newly altered criteria.

He said: “To encourage private sector investment into defence production, I can also announce today that we’re going to put beyond doubt that defence investment does count towards environment, social and governance assessments.

“There is nothing more ethical than defending our way of life from those who threaten it.

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“Now all of this will put us at the forefront of the global defence industry, allow us to hugely ramp up defence production and give our armed forces the capability they need to keep us safe.”

The comments coincided with a joint statement from the Treasury and the Investment Association, the trade body that represents UK investment managers, declaring that defence investment is “compatible with ESG considerations”.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland confirmed it was aware of the demonstration and that officers were in attendance. 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister has been clear throughout that an immediate and sustained ceasefire by all sides is required to prevent further loss of innocent life and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and that any breach or potential breach of international law, including the crime of genocide, be investigated by the appropriate international bodies.

"The First Minister has also called for the immediate release of all hostages.

“It is incumbent on the UK Government to consider the implications of the International Court of Justice and make clear to the Government of Israel that it has now moved far beyond a legitimate response to the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7.”