Home » Pro-Gaza activists stage protest in Amsterdam department store

Pro-Gaza activists stage protest in Amsterdam department store

Pro-Gaza activists staged a protest and appeared to take over an Amsterdam department store tannoy system.

Campaign group Workers for Palestine urged shoppers at De Bijenkorf to shun brands with alleged links to Israel.

The protest came as demonstrators disrupted Christmas shopping in Oxford Street in London calling for the boycott of what they claimed were “pro-Israel” brands.

In a video from Workers for Palestine on its Instagram account, a woman’s voice can be heard over a loudspeaker saying “we invite you to stop shopping while the bombs are dropping” and the deaths in Gaza were “funded by your tax money”.

More than 20,600 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7.

The announcement then claimed that buying products from brands such as “L’Oreal, Channel and Dior” helps what the organisers called Israel’s “genocide on the Palestinians” in Gaza.

Leaflets were distributed and strewn across the floor of the Amsterdam department store with shoppers told: “Christmas is cancelled, drop your shopping bags and boycott the brands.”

Workers for Palestine told The National the protest was held simultaneously across Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Paris.

Protests in the other Dutch cities and Brussels were similar to that in Amsterdam. In Berlin, activists disrupted a shopping centre by placing a nativity scene in the rubble to represent the current situation in Gaza.

The aim of the Christmas protests was “to shift the narrative, encouraging the global community to reflect on their role in perpetuating the ongoing genocide and to stand united against injustice”.

It’s unclear if the message heard by shoppers was through the store’s tannoy and Workers for Palestine would not say if they managed to take it over.

De Bijenkorf has been approached for comment.

The protest came the same day hundreds marched on London’s Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Some used the same “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” chant outside two Zara stores, both of which had closed and were guarded by security.

Some chanted: “Zara, Zara, you can’t hide, stop supporting genocide”.

Earlier this month, Zara pulled an ad following complaints that it contained pictures resembling images from the Israel-Gaza war.

The campaign, called The Jacket, contained a series of images in which the model was pictured against a background of cracked stones, damaged statues and broken plasterboard.

Zara said the campaign presented “a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craft-made garments in an artistic context”.

However, some viewers suggested they were similar to images emerging from Gaza.

The company said it regretted a “misunderstanding” about the campaign images after some customers “saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created”.

Protesters also chanted “shut it down” outside a Puma store on Carnaby Street.

The sports company was included on a list of brands to boycott on leaflets handed out to shoppers. Calls to boycott Puma stem from the firm’s sponsorship of Israel’s national football team.

Updated: December 27, 2023, 9:22 AM