Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Sicilians protest Giro d’Italia “stained with blood” of Palestinians
A protest by 200 activists delayed the start of the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia in the Sicilian city of Catania on Tuesday.
The activists had planned to shut the prestigious cycling race down altogether to protest how it had been launched in Israel last week, but they were confronted and kettled by riot police, as the video above shows.
As members of the Israeli government-backed Israeli team went past, protesters threw out flyers and carried banners with slogans including, “Israel kills, Italy is an accomplice.”
“We made everyone hear our dissent against the exploitation of sport by a state that has for decades practiced apartheid against the Palestinians and which does not respect UN resolutions regarding occupied territories,” protest organizers said, according to an early version of a report from the newspaper La Sicilia.
“There were moments of tension with police,” who used their batons against demonstrators, the newspaper reported.
One activist, Simone di Stefano, told Catania Today that activists had gathered to send the message that “we don’t want this Giro d’Italia that is stained with blood of the Palestinian people.”
Last week, Renzo Ulivieri, the head of the Italian football managers association, posted on Facebook that he would not be watching the Giro this year.
“I could have remained indifferent, but I fear I would have been despised by the people I respect,” Ulivieri wrote. “Viva the Palestinian people, free in their land.”
At a recent meeting of the leftist movement Potere al Popolo (power to the people), Ulivieri elaborated that “the true sporting spirit calls for the unity of people and condemns discrimination and abusive occupation like Israel’s apartheid.”
The latest actions are part of a continuing campaign by Palestinians and their supporters against Israel’s use of the Giro d’Italia to glamorize itself and distract attention from its abuses.