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Pedaling for Palestinian Rights: 20 cities around the world demand UCI and Giro d’Italia #RelocateTheRace

Activism

Cyclists and supporters of Palestinian human rights took to the streets in 20 cities across the world on Saturday, March 10, 2018 for the #RelocateTheRace International Day of Action.

Bike rallies and actions called on Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of cycling to relocate the start of the famed Giro d’Italia cycling event, set for May 4 in Jerusalem. Participants highlighted Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights, including freedom of movement, and its use of the race to sport-wash its regime of occupation and apartheid.

The day of action started in Palestine, with dozens of young Palestinian men and women participating in a “Counter Giro” race in the occupied West Bank from Ramallah to Qalandia, a locality confined by Israel’s apartheid wall and military checkpoints. The race was part of the events for Israeli Apartheid Week and highlighted Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and farms.

Qalandia, remains of a Palestinian home demolished by Israel. In 2016, Israel demolished 33 homes in this village alone.

In Switzerland, cyclists pedaled to UCI headquarters in Aigle. Despite numerous letters and appeals to move the race start, citing UCI’s own ethics code, the organization has failed to take action to prevent professional cycling from being complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.

In Kuala Lumpur, more than 50 people, young and old, individuals and families, students and cyclists, gathered on Saturday morning to call on the Malaysian Cycling Federation, a UCI board member, to take steps to ensure UCI relocates the race.

Protests were held in more than 10 cities across Italy. In Rome, dozens of cyclists gathered for a parody award ceremony near the Colosseum, where the Giro d’Italia finish line will be. Italian electric utility ENEL was “honored” as Best Sponsor of Israeli Apartheid. UCI was given the Ostrich Award for keeping its head in the sand. Giro organizers, who received a reported 10 million euro from Israel, were honored as Best Profiteers From Human Rights Violations. The Israeli cycling team was honored for Best Cycling Cover-up of Israeli Crimes.

In Sicily, activists held a public assembly in Catania to prepare for protests at the Giro d’Italia. The first Italian stages of the race will be on the island. Bike rallies were also held in Bologna, Milan, Naples, Ravenna, TorinoUdine,   Vicenza and Venice.

In the Netherlands, roughly 80 cyclists participated in an “Alternative Giro” in The Hague, pedaling from Parliament past the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court, noting Israel’s long record of war crimes and human rights violations.

In Manchester, cyclists from The Big Ride for Palestine pedalled to the British Cycling Federation Headquarters and the Italian Consulate, chanting “Save face! Relocate the race!

In France, cyclists in Paris rode from the Tour Eiffel to French Giro broadcaster L’Equipe. Bike rallies were also held in Saint-Étienne and in Marseilles, where activists distributed over 1500 leaflets.

In Belgium, activists in Leuven distributed bike flags reading “Ride for peace and freedom, not for Israeli apartheid” to an incredibly responsive public, who objected to the abuse of cycling to hide Israel’s human rights abuses.

Israel has long borrowed from the playbook of the apartheid regime in South Africa, using sports to mask its decades-long military occupation and apartheid regime.

Supporters of Palestinian rights around the world are committed to continue pressuring professional cycling until it ends its partnership with the Israeli government, allowing one of cycling’s top races to be exploited for political means.

About Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI’s website and follow us on Twitter @PACBI

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6 Responses

  1. punterweger
    punterweger
    March 14, 2018, 8:56 am

    Judging from the lack of comments, long-distance road-cycling is not much of a past-time for Mondoweiss readers. But even if you are not a cyclist, please spread this information far and wide. The Giro d’Italia will have a global audience of perhaps 8 million viewers and will probably be THE BIGGEST PRO-ISRAEL, PRO-ZIONIST ADVERTISEMENT that the world will see this year. Three stages, i.e. three days, will be spent showing the beauty and “achievements” of the Zionist state, and nothing will be heard about the disappeared villages, the massacres, and the continuing oppression of Palestinians. Please let your voice be heard!

    • guyn
      guyn
      March 14, 2018, 9:30 am

      I thought it was only for the start of the race, one stage, but three stages? It’s big. Shame on the UCI

  2. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    March 14, 2018, 10:48 am

    Here you go Giro D`Italia organisers this is what the most moral think of foreign cyclists.

    I for one who am a keen cyclist and someone who enjoys watching stages of the various Grand Tours will not be tuning in if the Giro goes to Zioland (subject to the Yahoo and Mad Donald not having turned the Middle East into a giant war zone by then).

    If all keen cyclists do the same ie don`t switch on or even boycott the whole televised event then ratings = (advertising income ) will plummet , the Chosen Tourist industry will suffer and the great PR coup will become a great PR disaster

    I hate the thought of these races being disrupted by protests and the safety of the riders being compromised by eg tacks being spread on the route but I believe that the riders are being duped by the organisers and their sponsors and should be more aware of the risks. If they do know of the risks and decide to continue to go ahead and participate in the stages then be it on their own head.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      March 14, 2018, 8:03 pm

      So they don’t just take bicycles from little girls.

  3. Waterbuoy
    Waterbuoy
    March 15, 2018, 12:33 am

    Lucky for me I wasn’t there. I could not have resisted shoving the big ring of my crankset into the teeth of a fascist had he tried to take my bike from me……….. likely have been shot by the Nazi.

  4. March 16, 2018, 8:52 pm

    Hopefully the foreign cyclists will leave knowing more about the plight of the Palestinians. UCI should be shunned

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