Bike rallies and actions called on Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of cycling to relocate the start of the famed Giro dāItalia cycling event, set for May 4 in Jerusalem. Participants highlighted Israelās 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 inĀ Palestine, with dozens of young Palestinian men and women participating in a āCounter Giroā race in the occupied West Bank fromĀ RamallahĀ toĀ Qalandia, a locality confined by Israelās apartheid wall and military checkpoints. The race was part of the events forĀ Israeli Apartheid WeekĀ and highlighted Israelās 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.
InĀ Switzerland, cyclists pedaled toĀ UCI headquarters in Aigle. Despite numerous letters and appeals to move the race start, citing UCIās own ethics code, the organization has failed to take action to prevent professional cycling from being complicit in Israelās violations of international law.
No Giro d'Italia in #Apartheid Israel! #RelocateTheRace #DĆ©placezLaCourseShort video of our protest last Saturday in front of the headquarter of the world cycling organisation UCI.
Posted by BDS Switzerland on Monday, March 12, 2018
InĀ Kuala Lumpur,Ā more than 50 people, young and old, individuals and families, students and cyclists, gathered on Saturday morning to call on theĀ Malaysian Cycling Federation, a UCI board member, to take steps to ensure UCI relocates the race.
Protests were held in more thanĀ 10 cities across Italy. InĀ Rome, dozens of cyclists gathered for aĀ parody award ceremonyĀ near the Colosseum, where the Giro dāItalia finish line will be. Italian electric utility ENEL was āhonoredā as Best Sponsor of Israeli Apartheid. UCI was given the Ostrich Award for keeping its head in the sand. Giro organizers, who received a reportedĀ 10 million euroĀ 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.
InĀ Sicily, activists held a public assembly inĀ CataniaĀ to prepare for protests at the Giro dāItalia. The first Italian stages of the race will be on the island. Bike rallies were also held inĀ Bologna, Milan,Ā Naples, Ravenna,Ā Torino,Ā Udine,Ā VicenzaĀ andĀ Venice.
In theĀ Netherlands, roughlyĀ 80 cyclistsĀ participated in an āAlternative Giroā inĀ The Hague, pedaling from Parliament past the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court, noting Israelās long record of war crimes and human rights violations.
InĀ France, cyclists inĀ ParisĀ rode from the Tour Eiffel to French Giro broadcaster L’Equipe. Bike rallies were also held inĀ Saint-ĆtienneĀ and inĀ Marseilles, where activists distributed over 1500 leaflets.
InĀ Belgium, activists inĀ LeuvenĀ 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 Israelās human rights abuses.
Israel has long borrowed from the playbook of theĀ 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 cyclingās top races to be exploited for political means.
Search IMEMC: “boycott”