Protest in Milan demands cancellation of Giro d’Italia launch in occupied Palestine

On 29 November 2017 in the late afternoon, the Coordinamento Lombardo per la Palestina, a group that includes Fronte Palestina, BDS Milan , Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo Milano and other organizations and individuals committed to supporting the Palestinian struggle, organized a protest outside the entrance of RAI Television Studios (the Public Italian broadcasting company) to protest during the official presentation of the world-class cycling event Giro d’Italia. The Giro d’Italia is subject to international protests and an escalating Palestinian, Italian and international campaign to move the race, which has been scheduled to start in occupied Jerusalem under the auspices of the Israeli occupation.

The rally started at 5pm during a working day and despite the race officials’ strategic choice of time and place (narrow dark street),  as most of protesters were at work and could not join the rally, there were about 40 people carrying speakers, signs, and banners loudly and clearly denouncing the holding of the “Big Start” of the 2018 race in Israel. This action by the Giro d’Italia serves not only to cover up Israel’s military occupation and racist policies against Palestinians, it will also exacerbate Israel’s sense of impunity and encourage it to continue denying the Palestinian people their UN-stipulated right.

Most recently, Giro d’Italia further conceded to Israeli control after Israel officially threatened to block financial aid to Giro d’italia if they will not remove from its web site and official social media channels the word “West Jerusalem“, claiming that even occupied East Jerusalem is part of Israel and as its unified capital. Now, Giro d’Italia has even removed the word “West” so the official world class cycling event will start in “Jerusalem,” with no designation of its occupation.

Events, actions and protests are continuing throughout Italy, with events on Saturday in Milan as well as in other Italian cities. The events included a bike race rally across Milan streets with Palestinian flags banners and speakers.  Protesters against the Giro d’Italia’s involvement with Israeli occupation also have highlighted the exclusion of Leila Khaled from Italy as part of the ongoing collaboration of the Italian government with the Israeli occupation and the Zionist movement and their attempt to silence Palestinian organizing in Italy.