The following article is largely translated from the French original at Collectif Palestine Vaincra:
On Saturday, 13 March, around 20 activists and supporters of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra gathered at the exit of the Capitole metro station in Toulouse, France, for a Palestine Stand. The event took place as part of the international campaign for the release of imprisoned Palestinian students, which unites over 350 international organizations.
Under a shining sun, participants distributed nearly 1,000 flyers for the #FreePalestinianStudents campaign and displayed an exhibition of dozens of portraits of young imprisoned students, drawing great attention from passers-by who stopped to discover the reality of the Israeli occupation. At the same time, two large banners at the exit of the Capitole metro station affirmed: “Against colonialism, racism and apartheid: Boycott Israel” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will win.”
Affirming their support for imprisoned students, many passers-by stopped to join the card-writing workshop to send notes of solidarity to Palestinian youth spending months and years in prison for living and studying in occupied Palestine. 52 cards were created and will be sent to around 10 prisoners. At the same time, the Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine (of which the Collectif Palestine Vaincra is also a member of the network) will meet with their families to provide them with copies of the letters written in Toulouse. Do not hesitate to write to them: it is an important gesture of solidarity!
Dozens of people also took solidarity photos to support the campaign. You can participate by using these posters and sending your photos!
The stand distributed many free stickers and leaflets on the struggle of the Palestinian people and the importance of supporting their cause: on the history of Zionist colonization and solidarity today, the situation of nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, on the cases of Georges Abdallah and Ahmad Sa’adat, and of course on the global campaign to boycott Israel. Throughout the event, speakers provided more information over the microphone about the #FreePalestinianStudents campaign, making the link to developing concrete and active solidarity in Toulouse. On this occasion, the speakers highlighted that not only is the boycott of Israel legal, it is legitimate and necessary. It is a political and moral duty for every anti-racist and anti-colonialist to boycott Israeli apartheid. In addition, two large display banners highlighted the history of the colonization of Palestine and the reasons for the boycott of Israel as well as some key targeted products to boycott. Many photos of these banners were taken by passers-by.
Throughout the event, participants affirmed their support for Olivia Zémor, president of CAPJPO-EuroPalestine, who faced a trial on 16 March in Lyon for calling for the boycott of Israeli pharmaceutical manufacturer TEVA. Many people were outraged to learn of the case and expressed their support, and dozens took “No TEVA” sticketrs to put on their health cards to tell their doctors and pharmacists they want an alternative vendor.
In addition to a protest event, the stand was also full of warmth, camaraderie and cultural resistance. A team from the Collective made cakes and prepared tea and coffee, an activist performed a rap about Palestine and a removable mural on plastic was created to support Palestinian students, while Palestinian music played in the heart of Toulouse city center. The event ended with a dabkeh dance that was warmly applauded by dozens of people.
Collectif Palestine Vaincra thanks the associations and collectives that came to provide support, especially the delegation of Couserans Palestine. The Palestine Stand takes place every month in the Toulouse city center, in addition to other initiatives organized by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, which invites all to contact them and get involved.
This was not the only event in France to express support for Olivia Zémor in advance of the trial. In Lille, over 50 people demonstrated on Sunday, 14 March to denounce TEVA and its attempts to silence the boycott campaign against Israeli colonization and occupation.
Meanwhile, in Paris, over 150 people came out despite wind, rain and cold on Saturday, 13 March to stand with Olivia Zémor in a unified demonstration bringing together the Palestine solidarity movement in France to defend the boycott of Israel.
More photos from Toulouse: