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A demonstration took place in the streets of Malaga in solidarity with the Palestinian people Salvador Salas
Pro-Palestinian rally calls for Malaga University to sever ties with Israel as Jaén and Granada have done
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Pro-Palestinian rally calls for Malaga University to sever ties with Israel as Jaén and Granada have done

Hundreds of people in Malaga walked through the city in remembrance of the great disaster of the Palestinian people, the Nakba of 1948, and demanding an 'end to genocide'

Cristina Vallejo

Malaga

Monday, 20 May 2024, 15:31

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Hundreds of people took to the streets of Malaga city on Sunday 19 May to commemorate the Nakba, the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Fatima is 32 years old and was born in Sweden, but her family fell victim to the Nakba. Now, not only does she have no one in her homeland, but she is also banned from returning to the place where her roots are. She told SUR she tried in 2018 but was unable to enter the country. Fatima is in Malaga on a temporary stay, she works for a large Swedish multinational and her work means she has to travel all over Europe. From a distance, she views the war in Gaza with anger, but also with optimism because of the resilience shown by the Palestinians and the solidarity demonstrated throughout the world.

Hatem lives in Malaga city and has been settled here for more than ten years, three decades in Spain. He came to Europe to study, stayed here and has set up his life here. He has family in the West Bank and friends in Gaza. Social media keep them in touch. "Their suffering is unimaginable," Hatem said. He feels anger, frustration, suffering and demands more action and fewer words from European states, given the "impunity" he sees in the actions taken by Israel. "That's why we have to put real pressure on the Netanyahu government," he said.

Together with Fatima and Hatem, several hundred people marched from Plaza de la Marina along the Muelle de Heredia, the Alameda Principal and back to La Marina, waving Palestinian flags and wearing the kufiya. There were also tourists, like some Turkish and German friends, who, on seeing the Palestinian flag, joined the protest. And, above all, students from the University of Malaga (UMA) who have been camped outside the general library for more than a week, emulating American and other European students who camped out on their respective campuses to put pressure on governments to speak out against the war in Gaza.

Breaking ties with Israel

The UMA students were the ones who ended the march with two speeches: they reiterated their demand that the university break its ties with Israeli universities and with all public and private bodies that promote research or provide Israel with war technology.

The students expressed their desire for the UMA to be the next higher education institution in Spain to sever its ties with Israel, following in the footsteps of its counterparts in Jaén and Granada. With the links it now maintains, the students criticised, "the UMA sponsors the Palestinian genocide" and "is an accomplice".

The students called for participation in an assembly which took place on Sunday afternoon in the library, where they have been "barricaded" for nine days "despite the obstacles", they said, both from the Rectorate and from "Zionist" groups. They also criticised the national government, the coalition, they said, formed by the PSOE and Sumar, by whom they feel "instrumentalised". The students demanded the government break off all relations with "the genocidal state of Israel" and recognise the Palestinian state.

The demonstration commemorated the great disaster, the Nakba, of the Palestinian people. In the manifesto read by the Andalusian coordinator in solidarity with Palestine, it pointed out this tragic episode is unfinished, that it did not end in 1948, that it continues, has lasted almost 80 years, and is still based, they said, on population displacement, land colonisation and apartheid since seven months ago, when the siege of Gaza began, has intensified. That is why a banner read: "It didn't start on 7 October." In addition to calling on the government to lead calls for a ceasefire and sever ties with Israel, they called on wider society to join the BDS campaign: boycott Israeli products, divestment and sanctions against Netanyahu's government.

There were chants against the Israeli president, such as "Netanyahu, criminal, to the criminal court", and other slogans such as "Israel, murderer of Palestinian children". Aisling, an Irish student at UMA, was handing out slips of paper with the names of children killed in the Gaza war printed on them: "We have 300 written on that banner, but they are only 0.2% of the more than 15,000". Other chants were: "Free, Free, Free, Free, Palestine" or "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

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