Some 200 people turned out in the eastern French city of Chalon on Friday to show support for an activist standing trial for running on to the court during a match between Israel’s Maccabi Electra and the home team last month.
Campagne BDS France, one of several groups calling for the rally, said that the activist, Layli, was fined 1,000 euros, suspended unless he commits another offense within five years, and banned from attending sporting events for six months. Prosecutors had asked for a fine of 3,000 euros.
Sports is politics
Before entering the superior court in Chalon, Layli told the local newspaper, Le Journal de Saône et Loire that he had planned to unfurl his flag in the stands, but when he saw the heavy security presence, and the harassment and arrest of other activists, he decided to take his protest on to the basketball court.
French media had reported that local police at the game were taking orders from agents of Israel’s Mossad
Asked by Le Journal how he defended disrupting an “apolitical” sporting match, Layli responded that sports and politics are connected and one only had to look at the uproar within Europe over the hosting of UEFA’s Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine, which some European leaders boycotted due to human rights abuses in the host country. Layli also cited protests by activists for Tibet against the 2008 Beijing Olympics. more