Activists swap Union flag for Palestinian on UK Government building in Edinburgh

Protesters in front of Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh
Direct action ... activists from This Is Rigged doused the front of Queen Elizabeth House in red paint as a Palestinian flag was flown in place of the Union Jack - SST/Alamy Live News

A Palestinian flag has been hoisted above a major UK Government building in Edinburgh by protesters claiming Britain is “complicit in genocide” in Gaza.

A Union flag was removed and hurled to the ground by activists who scaled Queen Elizabeth House (QEH) in the city on Wednesday morning.

The front of the building has also been doused in red paint as a Palestinian flag was flown in place of the Union Jack.

Four people from the Scottish This is Rigged campaign group, which also focuses on climate change issues, said they had taken part in the protest.

The group said three of the activists, Fred Spoliar, 31, Ruby Hamill, 19, and Daniel Knorr, 22, hurled water balloons filled with red paint at government signage.

Catriona Roberts, 21, sprayed the glass front of the building with a fire extinguisher full of red paint.

Police and activists at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh
Paint protest ... police were called to the scene after activists sprayed the Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh with red paint on Wednesday morning - SST/Alamy

The group said the building, the UK Government’s most prominent base in Scotland, had been targeted “specifically due to the UK Government’s ongoing endorsement of this genocide”.

Ms Roberts, a history student from Perthshire, said: “As long as the UK Government refuses to call for a ceasefire, we will continue to call not in Scotland’s name.

“As Palestine is bombed, burned and starved, this Government is complicit. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of screaming out into the world that we will not abide genocide.”

It comes days after Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street speech in which he denounced extremist pro-Palestinian protesters who do not respect the rule of law.

He said police would be encouraged to take a harder line, though policing in Scotland is a devolved matter. Police Scotland said its officers were “in attendance” at the protest, which began at around 10.30am.

A spokesman for the UK Government said: “We are aware of the protests and the police are in attendance. All of the staff in QEH are safe and no one has entered the building.”