FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2012
ANTI-APARTHEID PROTESTORS EJECTED AND ASSAULTED AT TIMBERWOLVES EXHIBITION GAME AGAINST ISRAELI TEAM
[Minneapolis] Following in the footsteps of the sports boycott of South Africa that contributed to the demise of apartheid, approximately 20 protesters advocating for human rights for Palestinians made their presence known at the Tuesday night Minnesota Timberwolves game against Maccabi-Haifa. Palestinian flags and banners calling for a boycott of Israeli apartheid were displayed and anti-apartheid chants were heard throughout the Target Center minutes into the game clearly catching the attention of the players.
As the banners were unfurled, Target Center security accompanied by Minneapolis Police began ejecting most of the protesters who were waving Palestinian flags and the anti-apartheid banners which were equivalent in size as those waved by pro-Israel counter-protesters, who were not ejected. An experienced legal observer and civil rights attorney who attempted to film the actions of a Target security guard was assaulted by a Target security supervisor, placed under arrest by an accompanying police officer and ejected with the promise of prosecution. Several persons were witness to the incident, which was also filmed by a protester. (Click here to see the footage on YouTube.)
The game was preceded by a letter to each of the Timberwolves players signed by over 100 worldwide human rights organizations requesting that the players boycott the exhibition game against the Israeli team. In addition, hundreds of individuals added their support to this letter through an online petition, tweeting, and Facebook. The organizations, which include church, veteran, women, student and lawyer groups, have all signed onto the Palestinian Civil Society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until Israel complies with international law and ends its human rights abuses against Palestinians.
According to the letter, the Israeli government sends cultural ambassadors, like the Maccabi-Haifa team, to Europe and the United States to present Israel as a “normal” society for the purpose of whitewashing its human rights and international law violations which include discriminatory laws and a system of apartheid. The letter can be read in its entirety on the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign website at http://mn.breakthebonds.org/?p=2036.