By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2877

Global protests defy rulers’ state repression to back Palestine 

The best way to resist is with more fury and protests
Issue 2877
state repression will be resisted

Global resistance against Israel has defied states’ violence (Picture: Guy Smallman)

From Britain and France to Italy and Germany, states are trying to intimidate and crush those who support the Palestinian resistance. But in every case, ­protesters have defied the bans and violence

The British state, ­including the media, is mainly ­targeting Arab, Muslim and black young people for their backing of Palestine. Two young women were subject to a police hunt after they attended ­protests ­wearing pictures of a paraglider. The paraglider has become a symbol of Palestinian ­resistance after Hamas ­fighters used them to fly over an Israeli border.

The cops have released pictures of the pair, appealing to the public to identify them.  On a visit to a Jewish school in London, Rishi Sunak proclaimed that, “Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation. It’s very clear under the law, the support and glorification of Hamas is illegal, and those offences are punishable with up to almost 14 years in jail.”

Hanin Barghouti, a Palestinian women’s officer at the University of Sussex, was also arrested on ­terrorism charges. She had said at a ­demonstration that the Palestinians fighting back “shows the world that we will always fight and always resist, and we need to celebrate these acts of resistance because this was a success.

“Revolutionary violence initiated by Palestinians is not terrorism—it is self-defence.” Meanwhile in Paris the police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters last Saturday. France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin sent a directive to all police precincts ordering a ban on Palestine protests last Thursday. 

The directive stated that the state was imposing the bans because Palestine ­protests are “susceptible to disrupt public order.” Videos on social media showed the police beating and pushing protesters and spraying them at close range with mace. The police also tried to clear protests in Lyon with tear gas. 

Charity worker Charlotte Vautier, who had attempted to join the protest, said, “We live in a country of civil law, a country where we have the right to take a stand and to demonstrate. It is unfair to forbid for one side and to authorise for the other.” 

And in Italy police tried to stop pro-Palestinian ­protesters from marching through Rome last Friday. Protesters intended to head to the Italian embassy but were blocked by police. Helmeted police, using shields and batons, also attacked students near Sapienza University. 

In Austria, the state banned a protest because its posters used the phrase, “From the river to the sea.” The head of the city’s police force Gerhard Puerstl said that this was a “clear call to violence and should be interpreted by the cops as such”.

The repression ­protesters are facing across Europe shows that those in power are scared at global resistance to their imperialism. The best way to resist is with more fury and protests


The German police use racial profiling

Activists in Germany also took to the streets in defiance of a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations and raising the Palestinian flag. On Monday last week a small number of protesters gathered in Duisburg, and hundreds of cops were mobilised to stop the demonstration. 

In Berlin and Frankfurt police enforced a strict ban on public gatherings. In one video shared on social media, a cop snatched a Palestinian flag from a young protester in Berlin on Thursday, who was then violently arrested. As he was arrested, he continued chanting, “Free, free Palestine.” The German police tried to justify their violence by saying protesters “were at risk of antisemitism”.

Artist Bassem Saad posted on Twitter that the police were trying to intimate Arabs in Berlin. “Berlin police have taken to installing themselves by the dozen in different spots in Neukolln where young Arab people hang out,” he wrote. “They are racial profiling, staring down everyone on the street.

“They face off a group of men with a scattering of keffiyehs until someone eventually says Free Palestine, and they attack and arrest. Full-on instigation.” Despite the repression, last Saturday thousands defied the ban that passed into law at 4 pm and took to the streets, holding Palestinian flags high.  

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