The demonstration in Las Palmas, along with at least 72 other Spanish cities including Valencia, Seville, Barcelona, and Madrid, is in response to the continuing and escalating crisis in Gaza. The Solidarity Network Against the Occupation of Palestine (RESCOP), coordinating with various territorial solidarity platforms, has been at the forefront of organizing similar protests over the past three months. The focus is on the complicit role of the Spanish State in maintaining arms trade and diplomatic relations with Israel, viewed as support for the Zionist regime’s apartheid policies, alleged ethnic cleansing, and colonial occupation.
The situation in Gaza is described as dire, with over two million people living in what the organizers call “a true open-air concentration camp.” The systematic bombings by Israel, as most of us have seen in the news, have led to hospitals, homes, schools, and other basic infrastructure being targeted and destroyed, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries, including many children. Some of the very latest estimates suggest more than half of all homes in the occupied territory have been reduced to rubble, and up to 90% of all Gaza residents have been displaced, meaning something close to 1.9 million people there are now totally dependent on aid, with no where to hide, and no way to feed themselves. The shocking humanitarian emergency is attributed to the Israeli colonial regime’s actions, which, say critics, are aimed at facilitating occupation through ethnic cleansing.
The demonstration against the genocide in Palestine is not just a protest against the violence but also a call for the Spanish government and the international community to take concrete actions. The demands include the need for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, ending the arms trade with Israel, supporting the lawsuit against Israel for genocide filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice, and breaking off diplomatic, institutional, economic, sports, and cultural relations with Israel.
“Israel bombs Gaza without mercy, and 70% of the victims are children and women,” said Rosa Halaby, on behalf of organisers, during a presentation of the initiative in Las Palmas. She denounced the Israeli army, currently attacting the Gaza Strip which she pointed out is being “razed without limits” and furthermore decried the treatment of the citizens of the West Bank who she said suffer under the Israeli state’s apartheid – discrimination based on race and religion – and from the illegal settlers who occupy the territory.
Halaby demanded that Canarian residents boycott produce or products ‘made in’ the Zionist State, everything from potatoes, to dates, pharmaceuticals and children’s hygiene items. “Many are made on land stolen from the Palestinian people, buying them is supporting genocide,” she claimed. She also mentioned an international campaign that has been activated against multinationals such as the likes of Carrefour and McDonald’s, for their collaborating with the Israeli Government.
From politicians to activists, a cross-section of society is very likley to be represented this Saturday. The demonstration from La Puntilla, at the La Isleta end of Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas, will culminate with various performances by comedians and musicians, reflecting a blend of activism and cultural expression.
In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this week an advertising campaign was launched to support Palestine. Since Monday and continuing for the rest of this month, a bus advertisment is displaying a message of solidarity that will traverse the neighborhoods of the capital . The initiative is an extraordinary collaborative effort between the platform Canarias por Palestina, the Consejería de Solidaridad of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, and Guaguas Municipales.
The bus, part of the articulated fleet of the municipal transport company, carries a banner designed by architect Asier Centol. The design poignantly addresses the issues of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. This initiative stands out as one of the most striking acts of solidarity at the national level and has garnered the support and agreement of the “Sindicato Unificado de Guaguas” Municipales.
Such initiatives reflect a deepening awareness and concern among the residents of Las Palmas and the wider Canary Islands about the ongoing situation in Palestine. This act of solidarity aligns with various other activities and demonstrations organized in the region, contributing to a growing chorus of voices calling for peace and justice in Palestine.
The Canarias por Palestina, part of the larger RESCOP, includes political parties, unions, professional collectives, and citizens. This Saturday’s demonstration is not just a local event but part of a larger, global outcry against the suffering in Palestine. With the call for a more humane future, devoid of war and environmental damage, the Canary Islands will join the global voice demanding justice and peace.
Will you be there?