The conduct of Police Scotland has come under intense scrutiny after a journalist covering a protest in Glasgow was threatened with arrest.

The incident occurred during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the Thales military electronics factory in Govan.

Protesters had gathered to block the factory entrance in opposition to arms sales to Israel. The picket was eventually dispersed by police, but not without controversy.

Xander Elliards, a reporter for The National newspaper, was on site to cover the event. According to a video shared by The National, Elliards was approached by a police officer who told him to “stop being obstructive or you will be arrested”. The reporter, standing approximately 100 meters from the protest site on a public street, asserted his right to be there, stating, “I was threatened with arrest and manhandled for doing my job, as far as I can tell.”

The officer further escalated the situation by saying, “I’ll take your phone,” before instructing Elliards to move away from the area.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Scotland has strongly condemned the police’s actions. In a statement, the union described the encounter as an “astonishing and shocking confrontation” and emphasized that journalists must be able to perform their duties without interference. “We will be following up on this to ask why police officers apparently are unaware of the law,” the NUJ added.

The NUJ’s intervention highlights the critical role of the press in covering public demonstrations and holding authorities accountable.

The incident has drawn significant attention, with many calling for a thorough investigation into the actions of the officers involved and assurances that journalists can work without fear of intimidation or arrest.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “During the protest an officer engaged with a journalist and asked him to move away from an area where officers were taking part in an operational briefing. Officers provided advice and guidance and no further action was taken.”

Advice and guidance.

Avatar photo
George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_819398)
16 days ago

I’m no expert but I did think the law does allow Police Officers to move people on. We have no 1st amendment in the country so journalists don’t get any special dispensation.

Still not sure why these pro-palastinian groups are bothing to protest. Our Government have negligable influence with Israel and we don’t sell them very much if anything.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_819403)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Even the Met don’t try the ‘you can’t photograph or video a police officer’ nonsense anymore…..

Generally the police want journalists there to report the idiotic behaviour of the protestors…..

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_819436)
16 days ago

Hmmm – Well the actual story here is that this was the only story here. Must have been a boring day for everyone.

william james crawford
william james crawford (@guest_819504)
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

it seems to me that the journalist was being obstructive, and as he was representing The National I am not in the least surprized.

Jon (@guest_819548)
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Yes the police in England and Wales can ask you to move on if they have cause. So if you ask why, you are entitled to a reason. Scotland has its own laws and I don’t know if it’s different. The reason is the bit of the equation we are missing here. It sounds like he wasn’t blocking an entrance, but we are very much getting a one-sided picture.

Last edited 15 days ago by Jon
Martin (@guest_819402)
16 days ago

Police Scotland if you report are a crime are the rudest, most arrogant dis interested, scruffy lot there is, worst police force in the UK by far i know i live here.

ABCRodney (@guest_819406)
16 days ago
Reply to  Martin

It’s peeing it down here in Derby, it’s grey and miserable. So thanks you made me laugh !
PS I was born and bred in Galloway, miss my home, but not some of the lunacy going on there.

Martin (@guest_819410)
16 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

It is a bit of the chain here, i can see why Scotland has such a high drink related problem, pissed best way to try and understand it. Btw is very warm and sunny here, who would of thought.

FOSTERSMAN (@guest_819415)
16 days ago

I can’t understand these protests, the police today are an absolute joke how many laws are getting broken and all they do is stand around and let it happen. Joe public are going about their day and if they question it or demand action are the very people getting targeted. In the next few years we will see soldiers on the streets.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_819473)
16 days ago

Typical policeman. Dumb as a box of rocks and very aggressive

ChariotRider (@guest_819508)
16 days ago

If the police are limiting reporting that is a serious issue as it goes to the heart of our democratic process.

Journalism in this country has declined significantly in recent years, but even so that is no excuse to deny a reporter access to what looked like a peaceful demonstration.

The other thing that gets me is why the other officer present didn’t call his colleague off?

Cheers CR

John (@guest_819540)
15 days ago

Bit of a none event. Should have charged him with obstruction, then he might have something to whinge about.

Cygnet261 (@guest_820303)
12 days ago

Why do journalists think they are above the law. And by the way, scottish police officers don’t piss about.

Lonpfrb (@guest_820783)
11 days ago
Reply to  Cygnet261

Police Scotland: “During the protest an officer engaged with a journalist and asked him to move away from an area where officers were taking part in an operational briefing.”

So Police Scotland failed to plan and prepare a briefing space not open to the public. You’d expect them to have vans or offices suitable and consistent with their operational requirements.

George is not arguing to be above the law rather for public accountability within the law..