Sinn Féin defends Palestine rally after protest
Sinn Féin defends Palestine rally after protest


A number of Palestinian activists were removed from a Sinn Féin ‘Solidarity Rally for Palestine’ event in Belfast over the party’s decision to attend a White House event on St Patrick’s Day.

The rally – which took place on Wednesday night at the Europa Hotel – was intended to demonstrate support for the people of Gaza and the West Bank and to reiterate calls for an immediate ceasefire, according to South Antrim Assembly member Declan Kearney.

A range of speakers were present at the event, including by the Irish representative of the Palestinian Authority, the pacifist governmental body which exercises civil control over some areas in the West Bank.

The speech by Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid triggered a disruption by the activists, who accused her of being “a mouthpiece” for a “corrupt dictatorship who have not had an election since 2006”.

The intervention drew jeers from the crowd, before the activists continued: “We’re Palestinians. He is from Gaza. Please listen to us. We’re all from Palestine. We’ve got family in Gaza right now. Boycott the White House! Do not go on St Patrick’s Day.”

The activists continued their chants of “Boycott the White House” as security guards pushed them towards the door.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson did not directly address the incident, but said the party’s focus was on “giving voice to the plight of the Palestinian people”.

“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,” they said.

“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.”

It comes as the party continue to face calls to boycott the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC.

Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said the calls are “inconsistent”.

“Some folks are saying the Sinn Féin leadership shouldn’t meet with the American political system,” he said.

“They are not saying we shouldn’t meet with the British political system. The Brits are up to their neck in this. We don’t agree with US foreign policy, and neither should we. What is important for us in the USA is Irish-America.”

Ali Abunimah, director of the pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada website, criticised Sinn Féin for hosting representatives of the Palestinian Authority.

“The ‘Palestinian Authority’ works hand in glove with the genocidal Zionist regime against the Palestinian people’s resistance,” he posted on X.

“Welcoming representatives of the Ramallah collaborator regime is a slap in the face to those struggling and giving their lives for Palestine’s freedom.”

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