Press Release – For Immediate Release
Over 40 protesters have occupied the Headquarters of BBC Scotland in Glasgow, demanding mainstream media coverage for the 2,400 Palestinian prisoners who began hunger strikes today. These actions mark a development from the ongoing hunger strikes which have been taking place since December. Currently, the individuals who have been on hunger strike longest are Thae’r Halahi and Bilal Diab, both of whom are currently on their 50th day without food. This protest is organised to challenge the BBC’s continued silence around this recent escalation of Palestinian resistance – it’s refusal to report any of the actions that have lead to this decision by 2,400 Palestinians calls into question it’s impartiality.
The demonstrators entered the building before midday and are currently holding the main lobby, chanting “BBC Shame on you, put the prisoners on the news” and “Hunger Strikers will not bow, free the political prisoners now”.
A demonstration has been called in Glasgow for Palestinian Prisoners Day, which will rally at George Square at 6pm before marching to the BBC offices in Glasgow. The demonstration will call upon the UK media to acknowledge the Karamah strike and the plight of Palestinian prisoners. During the hungers strikes taken by Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, the BBC refrained to comment amidst international concern for those on hunger strike, choosing only to publish stories after both prisoners had been offered deals from Israel for their release.
The actions today take place two days after thousands of international activists attempted to fly into Ben Gurion airport demanding the right to travel to the West Bank on invitation of the Mayor of Bethlehem. There are currently around 50 activists being held in detention, including four Scottish nationals, who are refusing food and water in solidarity with the Karamah Hunger Strike.
The demonstrations around the issue of the hunger strikers are being organised by student Palestine societies in Scotland, with the support of various organisations, uniting under the banner of ‘We Are All Hana Shalabi’.
On Saturday 24th March, over 500 people marched from George Square to the BBC Scotland HQ in Glasgow (link for pictures below) demanding that they cover stories about Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. Today, demonstrations have been called across Scotland in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Many of those marching have been participating in a global hunger strike from 7am to 7pm.
One of the occupiers said, “The Karamah Hunger Strike represents a potentially significant moment in the history of the Palestinian struggle. The fact that 2400 Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike against the apartheid policies of the Israeli occupation shows the desire of Palestinians to have their freedom from prison, and freedom from occupation. The BBC is complicit through their silence of the ongoing situation in Palestine, and we are occupying today to highlight that the magnitude of this issue and this injustice demands that the media cover it.”
14:52 Senior BBC official agrees with meeting with activists over their poor coverage of the hunger strikes. Protesters have left, meeting just broke-up.
15:23 Official denies being influenced by BBC in London or UK foreign policy, claims they serve a ‘certain demographic’ admits there could have been coverage of Scottish solidarity actions.