Monday, 14 June 2010

WFPSC & J-BIG successful boycott supermarket sweep in Leytonstone

A dozen pro-Palestinian activists and an Israeli film cameraman recording material for a news documentary faced aggressive store security staff during a peaceful protest about Israeli goods in a Tesco in Leytonstone, northeast London on Sunday June 13.

“I was shocked at the behaviour of Tesco’s security staff towards our relaxed, cheerful and totally unthreatening action,” said Ellie Merton, chairwoman of the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign (WFPSC).

“We were holding up examples of produce from illegal Israeli settlements and stolen Palestinian land, chanting to urge shoppers to join the boycott campaign. Then out of nowhere two burly security guards pounced on the Israeli Channel 10 cameraman, seized his equipment and then attempted to confiscate all cameras being used by us and members of the public.”

Protesters calmly stood their ground, stressed the peaceful nature of their protest and insisted on being allowed to present a letter to the store management asking them not to stock Israeli goods. Other members of staff intervened and accompanied activists, now singing a boycott song led by professional soprano Deborah Fink, to the customer services desk.

Walthamstow resident Josephine Tyrconnell-Fay said: “I didn’t think much of the duty manager’s customer service. I had to ask her repeatedly to accept our letter, in contrast to other supermarkets around the country where managements have been much more willing to understand what campaigners are doing and why.”

After Israel's latest display of criminality, killing nine international humanitarian aid workers and peace activists on a boat taking aid to the beseiged Gaza Strip, WFPSC got together with Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) to hold Sunday’s action.

Campaigners say the sale of goods produced in Israel or its illegal settlements legitimises Israel's criminal occupation of Palestinian lands.

By stocking these goods supermarkets are complicit in supporting the economy of a violent apartheid state that disrespects international law and undertakes ethnic cleansing.

“As consumers and activists we are proud to be part of the non-violent global campaign to hold Israel to account for its continual war crimes against Palestinians,” said Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, secretary of J-BIG.

For footage of the protest, please click here and view on YouTube "WFPSC"

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