Batsheva dance company
Photo: Gadi Dagon
Pro-Palestinian activists disrupt Batsheva show at Edinburgh festival
Protesters shout 'free Palestine' during Israeli dance company's performance at international festival; Scottish audience cheers dancers on as police removed protesters

The opening show of the Israeli dance company, Batsheva at the Edinburgh International Festival was disrupted several times on Thursday night, as pro-Palestinian protesters in the audience called to halt the performance.


Before the show began, some 300 activists protested against Israel outside the festival doors. Police forces had to escort Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, who attended the show, through a side door so she would not have to go through the angry mob.


However, the security efforts to keep the protest outside the festival halls did not pan out, as dozens of pro-Palestinian activists managed to enter the dance hall where over 1,500 people were watching the performance.


Shortly after the show began, the protesters began wielding signs and shouting "free Palestine.' The Batsheva dancers had to stop the performance several times, while police took control of the situation and forced the protesters to leave the place.


During the several imposed breaks, the audience stood on their feet and cheered on the Israeli dancers, urging them to continue dancing.


"The activists' attempts to prevent Batsheva from performing and putting Israel's fine culture on display have failed," said Livnat who arrived to the festival accompanied by Israel's Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub.


Livnat arrived to Edinburgh as a show of support to the Israeli dance company as pro-Palestinian activists had announced their intention to disrupt the performance beforehand.


"We will not surrender to cultural terror by Israel haters. The show was spectacular. The Scottish audience applauded the dancers while activists were hurling anti-Israel slurs at them," Livnat added.





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