LONDON (Agencies) - Members of a British anti-war group, including Palestinians, occupied the Glasgow offices of the BBC on Sunday, saying they would stay in the building until the national broadcaster agrees to air a charity fundraising appeal for Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
The occupation followed criticism from lawmakers and religious leaders who said the BBC's decision not to air an advertisement from the Disasters Emergency Committee - a group of charities that includes the Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children - was wrong.
Campaigners protesting against the BBC decision said a group of demonstrators is "occupying" the lobby of BBC Scotland's Glasgow HQ.
The Stop the War Coalition claimed there are about 100 people involved in the demo inside and outside the building.
A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said there are about 40 to 50 protesters, and added officers at the building are monitoring the situation.
The police said the protest was orderly and there had been no arrests.
The comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and another senior church leader seemed likely to add more pressure on the broadcaster, which has rejected the advertisement because of concerns that showing it might harm its reputation for impartiality, and because it couldn't be sure the money raised would reach those in need in the chaotic Palestinian territory.
"My feeling is that the BBC should broadcast an appeal," Williams said.
Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General, remained adamant against the showing the advertisement.
His comments came in a blog posting on the BBC Web site.
"Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious.
" John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, also urged the BBC to reconsider its decision.
"In the end, it's not a question of impartiality, it's a question of those who have been made destitute, those who need food, those who need medicine, those who need help," he told the BBC.
"That's all it is.
" The BBC would not comment on the demonstration.
"We want the BBC to show the Gaza appeal because we believe that the lives of people in Gaza are as important as those in every other part of the world," Penny Howard, one of the protesters, told the AP in a telephone interview from the building.
"We remain hopeful.
And I think the BBC is coming under increasing pressure.
" Other British broadcasters, including Channel 4, ITV, and Five have said they will show the advertisement.
Sky said it had yet to decide.
British lawmaker Richard Burden said Sunday that more than 50 of his colleagues are backing a parliamentary petition urging the BBC to run the ad.
It is to be introduced in the House of Commons on Monday (today).
On Saturday - as protesters gathered outside a BBC building in central London - International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander also asked the BBC to reconsider.
"I think the British public can distinguish between support for humanitarian aid and perceived partiality in a conflict," Alexander said.
"I really struggle to see, in the face of the immense human suffering in Gaza at the moment, that this is in any way a credible argument.
"

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 26-Jan-2009 here.