Palestine activists removed by police as protesters hijack Anas Sarwar's speech

Palestine activists removed by police as protesters hijack Anas Sarwar's speech
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 08/01/2024

- 11:08

Updated: 08/01/2024

- 11:43

Anas Sarwar is expected to use the speech to urge pro-independence voters to defect to Labour

Palestine activists were removed from Rutherglen Town Hall by police after they staged a protest ahead of Anas Sarwar's first speech of 2024.

They are thought to have been protesting against Sir Keir Starmer's stance on the ongoing war in Gaza, shouting that Labour should be "ashamed" of its position.

Police were called to the town hall earlier today in order to stop people from entering the venue.

More than a dozen activists gathered outside the hall and several entered the building.

Starmer has faced backlash over his stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict as he has supported the Government's position in calling for "humanitarian pauses", stopping short of demanding a full ceasefire.

He whipped his MPs last year to vote against an SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire, instead demanding his MPs support Labour's amendment demanding pauses in the conflict.

Ten members of his frontbench resigned over the issue, choosing to break with the party line and vote with the SNP.

Starmer has argued that calling for a ceasefire would only serve to "embolden" Hamas.

Sarwar, the leader of Scottish Labour, used today's speech to set out his vision for Scotland in the leadup to the election.

Opening his speech, he told supporters that he expects the Tories and the SNP to go "dirty" in the general election campaign.

He urged Scottish voters to unite behind Labour “regardless of how they voted before”, claiming that his party can “do better than the managed decline of the Tories and the SNP”.

Sarwar said he expects this year to be a "momentous year in the history of British and Scottish politics", calling for voters to get behind Labour to remove the Conservatives in Westminster and to "turn the page on the SNP too”.

Addressing the issue of Scottish independence, Sarwar added: ”Let me say to those that may have supported independence in the past, and may even consider it in the future.


“I don’t support independence, and I don’t support a referendum, but I accept that we need change right now.

“We may ultimately disagree on the final destination for Scotland, but on this part of the journey, let’s unite to change our country and get rid of this Tory government.”

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