On Thursday, 30 July, 4 BDS activists, Yamann, Bernard, Jean-Pierre and Loïc, came before the court in Toulouse on charges of “interfering with economic activity” for distributing leaflets urging the boycott of Israeli goods. Over 200 solidarity protesters gathered outside to express their support for the four targeted organizers and for the Palestinian cause.
The trial of the four was postponed once again, this time until 22 September.
The cases of Palestinian prisoners and prisoners for Palestine were highly visible at the protest. Banners urged the freedom of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine, who has been imprisoned in French prisons for 32 years, and Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike against the imposition of administrative detetention after completing a 14.5 year sentence in Israeli prison. Abdallah sent a message of support to the activists and the protest, as did numerous organizations and individuals, including Palestinian leader Leila Khaled.
The case itself was postponed once more, as new “civil parties” joined the prosecution, including the CRIF, France-Israel Association, BNVCA as well as LICRA and Lawyers Without Borders, and claimed they did not have time to respond to the arguments of the defense prior to the hearing. However, they now made a new complaint of offense, that of “discrimination linked to a nation,” an attempt to use a law against racist discrimination against people to defend the corporations and products of the Israeli state.
BDS organizations from across France participated in the demonstration, as did Coup Pour Coup 31, Association France-Palestine Solidarite, EuroPalestine, ATTAC, FUIQP (United Front of Immigrants and Popular Neighbourhoods), UJFP (French Jewish Union for Peace), and Mouvement Paix, as well as political organizations and parties like OCML – Voie Proletarienne, NPA, and others.
Police harassed protesters, pushing them fifty meters away from the courthouse, and allowing only one representative of all of the supporters to accompany the four activists to court. Protesters chanted “Palestine vivre, Palestine vaincra” (Palestine lives, Palestine will win), carrying Palestinian flags and speaking about the importance of building the boycott and confronting repression.
Protesters and organizers vowed to be present once more on 22 September to support the accused activists and build the campaign to demand their total acquittal and the dismissal of all charges.