The following report is largely translated from the original French, published by Collectif Palestine Vaincra, a member organization of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:
Nearly 300 people rallied at Metro Capitole in Toulouse, France, on 1 July, the international “Day of Rage,” surrounding a giant Palestinian flag, to express their rejection of the Israeli annexation project in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and their support for the Palestinian resistance. The protest was organized by a number of groups, including Collectif Palestine Vaincra, BDS Toulouse, Secours Rouge Toulouse, UJFP, the Palestinian Association and others.
For almost two hours, the demonstrators chanted together, shouting “Israel assassin, Moudenc complice!” a reference to Toulouse mayor Jean-Luc Moudenc, who has repeatedly attempted to suppress activism in support of Palestine in the city while supporting an ongoing “sister city” relationship with Tel Aviv, despite thousands of signatures gathered to oppose the twinning.
Protesters also chanted “Palestine vivra! Palestine vaincra!” (Palestine will live, Palestine will win) and “Boycott Israel!” Many participants carried signs supporting the boycott of the Israeli occupation, denouncing the annexation plans and calling for the release of Georges Abdallah, the imprisoned Lebanese Arab struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France for over 35 years. Others carried signs demanding an end to the Toulouse-Tel Aviv twinning.
Speakers representing various organizations and collectives affirmed their support for the Palestinian people in the struggle against Israeli occupation and colonization. In the speech by Collectif Palestine Vaincra, they noted that the mobilization came as part of an international day of action, alongside demonstrations taking place from the United States to Palestine to Turkey. The collective’s speech also emphasized the importance of supporting the Palestinian resistance and the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. The speech also demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners, especially Salah Hamouri – French-Palestinian lawyer seized the night before – and Georges Abdallah.
Several activists of Collectif Palestine Vaincra chanted solidarity slogans in Arabic, while the collective also ran an information table with flyers, stickers and other material in support of the Palestinian struggle.
The speech of the Toulouse BDS campaign highlighted the important victory achieved by campaigners for the boycott of Israel in the condemnation of France by the European Court of Human Rights for obstructing freedom of expression for its attempt to criminalize BDS activism. A large delegation from Courserans Palestine also participated with various solidarity banners.
On the evening before the demonstration, Collectif Palestine Vaincra also unfurled a massive banner -100 square meters in size – on the Pont des Catalans Bridge, one of the largest bridges in Toulouse,supporting the liberation of all of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
Text of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra speech:
Good morning, everyone,
I speak on behalf of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, a member of the international Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Today is a Day of Rage for the Palestinian people and their supporters who are demonstrating all over the world. From Gaza to Ramallah, from Frankfurt to Madrid, from New York to Istanbul, we all say with one voice, “No to the annexation plan for the West Bank!”
A day of rage against this new step which aims to colonize more and more of the land of Palestine and make the situation ever more unbearable for the Palestinian people. For more than a century, Zionist colonisation has been advancing, from so-called “partition” plans to formal and informal annexation.
A day of rage at the hypocrisy of Western governments. On the one hand they say that “Netanyahu goes too far” with this plan; on the other hand they never impose any sanctions – and worse, they try to criminalize legitimate support for the Palestinian people.
A day of rage at the reactionary Arab regimes that are normalizing their relationships with the Zionist state by sacrificing Palestinian blood for dollars.
A day of rage at the failure of the strategy of the Palestinian Authority, which has not stopped security coordination since the Oslo Accords. And the result is clear: the Zionist occupation has never before been so extensive on the lands of Palestine.
It was a day of rage when we learned yesterday that Salah Hamouri, the Franco-Palestinian lawyer, was once again arrested in Jerusalem, and joins the 5000 Palestinian prisoners locked up and tortured by the Zionist occupation.
But it is also a day of hope! A day of hope seeing that for more than a century the Palestinian people remain steadfast! Stand up and resist! In the face of immense challenges, the Palestinian resistance continues to fight, including with arms in hand, for a free and democratic Palestine from the Jordan River to the sea. This is the meaning of the struggle of Georges Abdallah, imprisoned in France since 1984, who continues to fight despite his imprisonment – Like thousands of women, men and children who continue to resist from inside the Zionist jails.
A day of hope because the Zionist state and its allies are afraid! Afraid to see that the boycott is growing, afraid to see that solidarity with Palestine is still alive, afraid to see that Toulouse’s twinning with Tel Aviv is increasingly being called into question, because colonialism must stop! Racism must stop! Apartheid must stop!
No to annexation! No to Zionism!
From the river to the sea: Palestine will win!
Long live the resistance!