Pro-Palestinian activists chanting 'boycott Zara' hit Scottish store

Pro-Palestinian activists chanting ‘boycott Zara’ force retailer to close store in Scotland as protests over ad campaign which they claim ‘mocks deaths in Gaza’ continue

  • It follows similar protests in Montreal, Stockholm and Madrid in recent days 

A Zara store in Scotland was forced to close this morning after being targeted by pro-Palestine activists chanting ‘Boycott Zara’ as the fallout from an advertising campaign which some claimed ‘mocks deaths in Gaza’ continues.

The store on Buchanan Street, Glasgow saw around a dozen people waving Palestinian flags and placards arrive outside its door, video on social media shows.

It comes after stores around the world have been hit by protests after the fashion giant was accused of insensitivity around a campaign which featured mannequins with missing body parts and wrapped in white sheeting.

Many online drew comparisons with the distressing images to come out of the war between Israel and Hamas, with bodies wrapped in white shrouds being routinely seen in Gaza.

Zara withdrew the images and yesterday issued a statement saying it ‘regrets the misunderstanding’, adding the campaign was conceived in July and shot in September, a month before the conflict broke out. 

The activists forced the closure of the store on Buchanan Street, Glasgow on Wednesday morning

Fashion giant Zara came under fire for its new campaign that features a mannequin wrapped in white plastic and surrounded by rubble

More than 1,200 people were killed when groups of Hamas militants crossed into Israel on October 7, most of them civilians. In Israel’s response, which has seen heavy bombing of the Gaza Strip, more than 18,200 people have been killed.

Images from Glasgow this morning show the Zara store’s shutters closing while activists, some wearing high-vis jackets and with megaphones, standing around the entrance.

Some held bundles of white cloth covered in fake blood, while others laid them on the ground. 

Critics previously accused the retailer of insensitivity towards deaths in war-torn Gaza after images from the fashion shoot featured mannequins with missing limbs and a model in a wooden box and surrounded by rubble.

Other images, which have since been removed from the firm’s Instagram page, show supermodel Kirsten McMenamy posing with mannequins wrapped in white cloth and plastic.

One image showed a model holding a mannequin wrapped in what appeared to be white plastic. 

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority said it had received 110 complaints that the ad’s imagery referenced the current Israel-Hamas conflict and was offensive.

Images from Glasgow this morning show the Zara store’s shutters closing while activists, some wearing high-vis jackets and with megaphones, standing around the entrance

Some placed effigies of dead babies on the ground outside the fashion store

The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held signs with slogans such as ‘Free Palestine’

At some Zara stores, graffiti has covered up the brand’s name as activists scrawled pro-Gaza slogans on the walls

Some Zara outlets in Montreal were vandalised following the controversy

The campaign for the Spain-based fashion giant quickly received a wave of backlash online, with posts branding it ‘shameful,’ ‘disgusting’ and a ‘mockery’.

Six posts showcasing the campaign, which was shot by British fashion photographer Tim Walker, were scrubbed from Zara’s Instagram page.

Mr Walker has previously photographed celebrities such as Stormzy and Jodie Comer for the covers of British Vogue, as well as taking shots of Lady Gaga, Emma Corrin and Miriam Margolyes.

Zara said at the launch of the collection on December 7 that it was inspired by men’s tailoring from past centuries.

The photos appeared to show an artist’s studio with ladders, packing materials, wooden crates and cranes, and assistants wearing overalls.

There had been calls for boycotts of the fashion brand, owned by Inditex, which also owns other popular high street stores such as Pull and Bear and Bershka.

In Montreal, Canada, activists sprayed Zara stores with pro-Palestinian slogans this week.

Social media users took to X to criticise the campaign, referring to it as ‘shameful,’ ‘disgusting’ and a ‘mockery’. These two images have been deleted from their Instagram page after they were compared to photos of dead bodies in Gaza

Zara released a statement on Instagram on Tuesday morning

Some social media users drew parallels between mannequins used in the campaign and distressing pictures of bodies wrapped in shrouds from Gaza

Yesterday footage emerged online which showed protests at stores in Madrid and Stockholm. In Madrid, activists waved large Palestinian flags and gathered outside the entrance, gluing up posters which when translated bore the motto: ‘We are all Palestinian’.

READ MORE: Zara ‘regrets misunderstanding’ over ad campaign after pro-Palestine activists claimed plastic-wrapped mannequin ‘mocked’ deaths in Gaza – but clothing giant says it was shot a month before Hamas attacks 

In a Stockholm store, protesters carrying bundles of cloth made to look like dead babies entered the premises and waved placards and posters.

Zara described the new clothing line on its Instagram page as: ‘A limited edition collection from the house celebrating our commitment to craftsmanship and passion for artistic expression.’

Taking to social media on Tuesday morning, Zara said: ‘After listening to comments regarding the latest Zara Atelier campaign ‘The Jacket’, we would like to share the following with our customers.

‘The campaign, that was conceived in July and photographed in September, presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context.

‘Unfortunately, some customers felt offended buy these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created.

‘Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone’.

Zara has been contacted for comment. 

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