The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel won a legal battle when a French court on Monday overturned a government ban on a meeting to support people facing trial for pro-Palestinian activism.
The mayor’s office in Toulouse banned the meeting last Thursday, but it was overturned by the Toulouse administrative court which ordered that a space be provided for the meeting. The court stated that the ban was “a grave and manifestly illegal infringement of the fundamental freedom of assembly,” Electronic Intifada reported.
The meeting was then able to go ahead as planned on Tuesday in a public facility. The meeting was in support of four Palestinian rights activists who are facing trial in June for handing out information that called for the boycott of Israeli goods.
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The Support Committee for the BDS Accused of Toulouse, which is a coalition of dozens of groups in support of Palestinian rights, organized the meeting.
The BDS movement aims to put political and economic pressure on Israel for their occupation of Palestine. The movement seeks to lobby organizations, corporations, artists and academic institutions to cut ties with Israel. The movement hopes that boycotting Israel will help the cause of independence for Palestine and delegitimize the state of Israel.
The French government has been overly critical of the BDS movement and has been supportive of Israel. Online payment company PayPal decided to block money transfers to the French branch of the BDS movement in March.
In February, Canada passed a motion in their parliament to formally condemn attempts to promote the BDS movement against Israel.
A number of human rights and civil liberty groups have supported the BDS movement including the France-based International Federation for Human Rights. The governments of Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland have recently given their support to the BDS movement.