Salford activists joined anti-Israel campaigners at the weekend, protesting outside the high street stores sponsoring the UEFA Under-21 Football Championships, which take place in Israel between 5th and 18th June this year. Stores including Adidas, McDonald's and Marks and Spencers were targeted, before campaigners moved on to stage a further demo outside the National Football Museum at Urbis.
The campaign against the Championships intends to highlight the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, that has seen the latter's international player Mahmood Sarsak incarcerated in Israel from 2009 for three years without trial. Palestinian Olympic goalkeeper, Omar Abu Rouis and the Ramallah FC player, Mohammed Namer remain in Israeli jails.
Meanwhile, in November 2012 Israel attacked Gaza, killing over 140 Palestinians, including teenagers who were playing football. Sports facilities were also destroyed. It's against this background that protesters, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, believe the prestigious Championships should not have been held in Israel.
"Israel's human right's record is disgusting and UEFA should accordingly expel that racist state" said Aslan AK of Salford band Class Actions, who attended the demo "Football should be about equality and diversity, not giving a platform to apartheid."
Louis Brehony, co-organiser of the event added: 'We organised today's protest to oppose UEFA's decision to hold this year's Under-21 football championships in the apartheid state of Israel. How can a state which denies basic human rights to the Palestinian people - from water and aid to medical care, and which is colonising the West Bank and blockading the Gaza strip - be allowed to host an international sporting event?"
Organisers promise more protests in the near future…