Northern Ireland

Palestinian protesters criticise Sinn Féin after being ejected from Belfast rally

Several  Palestinian activists disrupt a Sinn Fein ‘Solidarity Rally for Palestine’ event in the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Wednesday night while the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid was speaking. PICTURE MAL MCCANN.
Palestinian activists disrupt a Sinn Féin rally in Belfast's Europa Hotel. PICTURE MAL MCCANN. (Mal McCann)

Sinn Féin has faced criticism from Palestinian campaigners who were ejected from an event calling for en end to Israeli hostilities in Gaza.

Wednesday night’s rally at Belfast’s Europa Hotel, which was addressed by the Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, was interrupted by protesters calling for Sinn Féin to boycott the St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House.

The handful of protesters claimed to be Palestinians and referred to ambassador Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid as a “mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority”.

As sections of the crowd jeered, the protesters shouted: “We’re Palestinians. He is from Gaza. Please listen to us. We’re all from Palestine. We’ve got family in Gaza right now. Boycott the White House! Do not go on St Patrick’s Day.”

In a video of the incident widely shared on social media, one of the those protesting tells those escorting them to the exit: “You’re throwing out Palestinians; shame on you.”

Earlier at the event, Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney said the rally was an “opportunity to demonstrate that Ireland stands with the people of Gaza and the West Bank”.

Palestinian Authority ambassador Dr Jilan Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid with Sinn Féin's Declan Kearney. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN (Mal McCann)

Sinn Féin confirmed last month that the party will join US President Joe Biden for the traditional St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC.

Party vice-president Michelle O’Neill said Sinn Féin representatives would make the annual trip in “pursuit of peace”

The SDLP has said it will boycott the White House celebrations in protest at US support for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, which has claimed the lives of 30,000 Palestinians.

In a statement in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s meeting, Sinn Féin said its “entire focus is on maximising positive solidarity with, and giving voice to the plight of the Palestinian people”.

Ali Abunimah, director of the pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada website, criticised Sinn Féin for hosting representatives of the Palestinian Authority.

“The ‘Palestinian Authority’ works hand in glove with the genocidal Zionist regime against the Palestinian people’s resistance,” he posted on X.

“Welcoming representatives of the Ramallah collaborator regime is a slap in the face to those struggling and giving their lives for Palestine’s freedom.”