A PALESTINE solidarity event at the Europa Hotel on Wednesday night was interrupted by a group of protestors.
The event, which was organised by Sinn Féin featured a range of speakers, including the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid, Mustafa Barghouti, the Sinn Féin leadership and other Palestinian representatives. Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, joined by live feed from Ramallah.
In a video which has circulated on social media, the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid was interrupted by a protestor.
Palestinian people have been forcefully removed from a Sinn Fein event tonight in Belfast.— Social Rights Ireland 🇮🇪 🇵🇸 (@SocialRightsIRL) February 8, 2024
Absolutely shameful behaviour! @SFIntDept @sinnfeinireland @MaryLouMcDonald @moneillsf pic.twitter.com/FnlXnekKjJ
The protestor criticised the Palestinian Authority, the Fatah-controlled government body that exercises partial civil control over West Bank areas and called for Sinn Féin representatives to boycott their St Patrick's Day trip to the USA.
"Sorry to interrupt you Jilan and interrupt how peaceful the Palestinian Authority is. They are a corrupt dictatorship who have not had an election since 2006," the woman said.
"We're Palestinians," she shouted repeatedly. "We have listened to you all night. Please listen to us. We are all from Palestine."
The protest was met with jeers inside the room.
As the woman and a number of other protestors was escorted from the room, she shouted "Boycott the White House" and "Shame on you" for "throwing out Palestinians".
Commenting on the incident, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: “Hundreds of people attended a rally in the Europa Hotel to extend solidarity to the Palestinian people and to call for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the occupation.
“The event was addressed by a number of speakers from Palestine and Ireland, including the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland and Mustafa Barghouti who joined the meeting live from the West Bank.
“Sinn Féin‘s entire focus is on maximising positive solidarity with, and giving voice to the plight of the Palestinian people.”
Earlier, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney told the audience the party will use next month's trip to Washington to "demand an end to Israel’s war and promote Palestinian national freedom".
“This March we will use the access created in Washington, through promotion of our peace process, with White House, State Department National Security officials, and on Capitol Hill, to demand an end to Israel’s war and promote Palestinian national freedom," he said.
🇵🇸 Huge welcome for Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland @JilanWahba in Belfast tonight. Hundreds of people sending solidarity to the people of Palestine.— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) February 7, 2024
It’s time for an immediate ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/UojRICvQiQ
“Whether at home or abroad, all Irish influence must be used on behalf of Palestine. We must not be silent. We will ensure the plight of the Palestinian people is spoken of, and heard everywhere. We refuse to stop talking about Palestine.
“The Palestinian people need the combined political and civic pressure of Ireland to be used at home, and internationally on their behalf.
“To achieve a permanent, unconditional ceasefire. The withdrawal of all Israeli forces from both Gaza and the West Bank. And an end to the human suffering of every Palestinian through effective initiatives, and campaigns.
“This should take primacy over everything else.
“To the oppressed and dispossessed of Palestine, Ireland sees you, we are with you forever, and will never abandon you.”