- Created: Wednesday, 22 May 2013 09:46
- Written by Manchester FRFI
Around 50 people took part in a day of protest in Manchester on 18 May organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and against UEFA's decision to hold the 2013 Under-21 Euro football tournament in Israel. Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) were joined by Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CPGB-ML and members of the public for a rolling picket of shops that are sponsoring the Euros and therefore giving a green light to Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonisation. The protests were provocative and received the support of hundreds of passers by.
The rolling picket began outside Adidas and McDonald's, two multi-national companies sponsoring the Euros in Israel. Protesters lined up in front of the shops and demanded that the management put pressure on company bosses to drop the sponsorship and respect the rights of the Palestinian people. Comrades spoke on the megaphone about the inhuman conditions that people in Palestine are forced to endure at the hands of the Zionist occupiers, when even Palestinian sports people are imprisoned by Israeli forces, such as footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, who was held for three years without trial and was only released after a crippling three month hunger strike.
The protests then moved to Marks and Spencer, a historic and continuing supporter of Israel, as a key member of the British-Israeli Chamber of Commerce. M&S is also a supplier to the English Football Association, a backer of the UEFA Under-21s in Israel. Demonstrators chanted loudly outside the store, denouncing M&S as a 'terrorist sponsor'. The point was made on the megaphone that Israel had bombed the sovereign state of Syria twice in a matter of weeks, further destabilising the Middle East and receiving no criticism from the British government. As the British ruling class defends Israel and labels the Palestinians as 'terrorists', it is also attacking working class people in Britain with cuts in public services, including the hated bedroom tax.
We marched to the National Football Museum (Urbis) for a final rally and received the support of a large group of youths, many of them angry at the treatment of the Palestinian people. We highlighted the role of the FA in refusing to stand against UEFA's decision. How can a state which occupies, bombs, imprisons and starves an oppressed nation be allowed to hold an international sporting event? Activists in Manchester will build on the support that many people have for Palestine and organise more protests and pickets to boycott the apartheid state of Israel and to demand justice for the Palestinian people.
UEFA out of Israel!
Israel out of Palestine!
Victory to the Palestinian people!