- Created: Sunday, 18 July 2010 20:45
- Written by Manchester FRFI
Around 25 people took part in a lively protest in Manchester on 3rd July to call for a boycott of Israeli goods, in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. In a rolling picket organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! protesters demonstrated outside shops and banks to expose the reactionary nature of the British government’s support for the fascist Israeli state and its genocidal occupation of Palestine. Many passers by stopped to offer support.
The protest started outside Lloyds bank, which has denied a British organisation the right to provide funds to the Palestinian charity, Interpal. In times where the multi-million pound bonuses of rich bankers are no secret, and when the real nature of the parasitic and unstable banking system has become clearer to ordinary people, the public in Manchester were unsurprised that a British bank would sink to such levels as refusing to allow vital funds to get to Palestine. Outside the bank, and throughout the day, hundreds of passers by stopped to find out more information.
There were lively scenes as the picket moved on to Marks and Spencer, a company with a long history of support for the racist Israeli state. A lot of people in Manchester remember our comrades for their picket of the Market Street store that was a constant feature for over four years, withstanding attacks from the police, council and organised racists. Activists spoke on the megaphone about Marks and Spencers' continuing backing for Israel, as a key member of the British-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, and as a symbol of successive British governments' political and economic support for Israel. People stopped and gave donations to our campaign, and there was a lot of sympathy for the people of Gaza, who continue to suffer under a brutal blockade. The recent attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, in which 9 international activists were murdered by the Israeli military, is fresh in the minds of many people.
The protest continued outside Schuh, a footwear store which sells Caterpillar boots and shoes. Caterpillar provides military bulldozers to the Israeli army, which uses house demolition as a 'punishment' tool against whole Palestinian commuinities who dare to resist occupartion. We also picketed Tesco, which sells a large amount of Israeli food produce, asking people not to buy from the racist regime. Finally, we spent the last part of our protest outside H&M, which has recently invested in Israel, announcing plans to open 7 stores there. A lot of people stopped to hear what we had to say and many were surprised that the company was involved in propping up the Zionist state.
Overall the day of action was a great success and the support we were given showed that there is still a basis for building solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Hundreds of people stopped to sign the petitions; we sold out of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! newspapers, selling 72 on the day; and we collected nearly £300 to help build our campaign. FRFI Manchester intends to build on this success and develop our work to support the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian people.
Boycott the racist Israeli state!