Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign | 22.07.2010 00:22
Twenty to thirty Palestine supporters maintained a vigorous picket throughout the evening outside the O2 Academy, in Bristol on Tuesday 20th July.
Chanting “Johnny Rotten, Johnny Rotten, Gaza must not be forgotten” they waved flags and placards.
They spoke to fans attending the gig and handed out fliers and cards.
Accompanying the picket were two eight-foot high stilt-walkers.
These were dressed as Johnny Rotten in his punk-rock era garb of union-jack jacket and spiked hair, plus a machine-gun armed Israeli Soldier.
About a eight hundred to thousand fans attended the gig from all across the South West.
A few weren’t interested in talking to the protesters, and some obviously misunderstood the issues.
One fan said “Johnny Rotten is an anarchist - so he’s not interested in politics!”
But many others were very interested to engage and were keen to explain they were Palestine sympathisers.
Comments like “I really support what you’re doing, Johnny Lydon needs to reconsider his Tel Aviv gig”
Or “I really agree with you, I’m totally on the side of the Palestinians”
One fan asked advice from protesters about ways to visit Palestine to help with the olive harvest!
Another fan donated a spare ticket so one of the protesters could go in and shout slogans during the performance.
The event was organised by the Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign www.bristolpsc.info.
A spokesperson said “We are delighted by the turnout this evening. Bristol has very special links with Palestine and local people are very aware of what’s happening there. We’re glad that Johnny Rotten played his first gig here so we could organise a really vigorous picket. We hope we’ve shown that everywhere he plays on his tour there will be a protest until he listens properly to the issues”
Campaigners are encouraging fans to contact Johnny Lydon to express their views on the following email addresses:-
Johnny’s website: firstname.lastname@example.org
His agent: email@example.com
His company: firstname.lastname@example.org
They can also join the Facebook page “Johnny Rotten you ain’t no human being if u play the Israeli fascist regime” which is already attracting hundreds of members see http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=137938606218216
There is now a growing national campaign seeking to dissuade artists from supporting Israel.
Artists who have already cancelled gigs in Israel include:- Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, The Pixies, The Klaxons, The Gorillas, and Gil Scott-Heron.
Dustin Hoffman & Meg Ryan are boycotting the Israeli film festival.
Last week Pink Floyd reunited for a Palestine awareness benefit concert in Oxfordshire to raise money for young Palestinians.
An open letter from students and academics in Gaza released on Monday appealed to John Lydon to “Rise against Racism”
It points out that John Lydon and his band PIL recorded a song in the 1980’s in support of the anti-apartheid campaign against the regime in South Africa
Palestine campaigners say “We would like to think that John Lydon hasn’t forgotten his principles of that era. Does he know that South Africans say that the Palestinians are now suffering a worse form of apartheid than even they did in the eighties? Hasn’t John heard of the Wall, the brutal carve-up of the West Bank, the war crimes against Lebanon and Gaza, or the Mavi Marmara? ”
A spokesperson for Bristol-Palestine Solidarity Campaign said
“Come on Johnny, don’t be rotten, don’t play Israel!
Why are you supporting an apartheid state?
Don’t you know about more than forty years of illegal occupation, the Wall, or the war-crimes in Gaza?
We’re calling on you’re fans to tell you loud and clear – don’t support Israel.
Cancel your Tel Aviv gig and heed the Palestinian call for boycott.
Actions are being planned across the country. See tour details at: http://www.johnlydon.com/tourdates.html
Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign are planning to picket Rotten’s gig. They have also set up a Facebook page which is already attracting hundreds of posts from fans see http://www.leedsmusicforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=32013
Protests are planned in Liverpool, and Scotland and throughout the country
See also excellent article by David Cronin in the Guardian on Wednesday 21st July
“John Lydon’s rotten poltics”
Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/692757