Copenhagen demonstration “Gives Israel the Red Card” outside Denmark-Israel football match

Over 250 people rallied in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, 7 September, in a large protest against the Denmark-Israel football match, under the slogan “Give Israel the red card!” The protest was organized by Boykot Israel-DK, Internationalt Forum, Demos, and Stop Annekteringen af Palestina. Representatives from Samidoun Stockholm participated in the protest following a series of meetings.

Samidoun Stockholm members traveled to Copenhagen after visits to Gothenburg and Malmo; they met with the Internationalt Forum, a long-established, active anti-imperialist organization based in Copenhagen, and attended the demonstration.

Ahead of the football game, over 1000 small Palestinian flags were prepared and then handed out – with leaflets about the Israeli apartheid state – to football supporters and all passers-by.

During the match, Palestinian flags were visible all throughout the stadium, while a demonstration in support of Palestinian rights and against the occupation was held at a nearby square. The display of Palestinian flags inside the stadium was covered in Danish media as well as Israeli media, and the national Danish TV 2 station published a long article on the “flag action” and the protest, quoting the Boykot Israel leaflets distributed in both Danish and English.

The demonstration aimed at promoting the boycott of Israeli sports teams and federations, as well as  exposing the role of sports events in legitimizing the illegal occupation in Palestine. The large crowd gathered to listen to speeches from anti-imperialist and Palestinian organizations in Denmark, accompanied by music and political conversations.

Johnna and Irene of Boykot Israel spoke at the demonstration, where they affirmed:

“Solidarity with the Palestinian people stands on two legs, partly a Boycott Israel campaign and partly a solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. The two are connected around the common goal:  A free Palestine. Boykot Israel is in favor of a  total boycott of Israel  – economic, academic, cultural and sports. We do this because Israel is an apartheid state  – just as South Africa was – and because Israel is a  colonial power.  We are pressuring and isolating Israel economically, politically and diplomatically….Solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle is the second leg of solidarity. The many peace initiatives over the past sixty years have not changed anything – only given Israel more influence, such as through the Oslo Accords of 1993….Peace talks with an occupying power will never give the Palestinians their freedom and their state…We must support the Palestinian liberation struggle – through support for the struggle of political prisoners – through support for the demand for the right to return, and not least: through support for a new intifada!”

They concluded by quoting Ahmad Sa’adat’s affirmation that, “In the end, justice will win.”

After the Copenhagen protest, Samidoun had a meeting with representatives of Internationalt Forum, where we discussed the future of the Palestinian and boycott movements, as well as how the movements and organizations in Northern Europe can strengthen their cooperation in the struggle for Palestinian return and liberation.