On Tuesday 17th May 2011, ten BDS activists from the UK, from various groups including London BDS, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the BDS National Committee, as well as Innovative Minds travelled to Paris to show solidarity and support for French BDS activists in their action outside the Veolia AGM.
Three French BDS groups had come together for the action: Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS), Campagne BDS-France and CAPJPO EuroPalestine.
Veolia has long been complicit in Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
Veolia is helping build and operate the Jerusalem Light Railway, a project which the UN Human Rights Council has declared is a "clear violation of international law". The tram line runs across stolen Palestinian land connecting illegal Israeli settlements to Israel thereby helping consolidate the occupation.
Jerusalem Light Railway
Veolia also runs bus services for Israeli settlers runing on apartheid highway 443 which is built on expropriated Palestinian land which until recently was totally barred to Palestinians.
Apartheid Road 443
Veolia's shameful crimes in Palestine also includes the Tovlan landfill site it operates in the occupied Jordan Valley where it helps Israel dump its toxic waste on to Palestinian land next to the Palestinian village of Abu Ajaj. The villagers now suffer persistent breathing problems and their animals have shorter lives and more still births are recorded.
Tovlan landfill site
The Veolia AGM was held at the conference hall in the Carrousel du Louvre, a shopping centre located in the Louvre Palace.
Inside the Carrousel, around 35 bds activists from France the UK united to inform Veolia's shareholders of Veolia's crimes in Palestine.
Whilst security personnel prevented banners from being unfurled and prevented filming of the action they did not prevent the activists from holding placards and giving out leaflets to shareholders as they entered the AGM.
In the AGM, shareholder after shareholder raised concerns about Veolia's actions in Palestine and the resulting loss of contracts around the word due to the BDS movement. Their questions dominated the AGM and received applause from the floor.
Veolia's chairman clearly shaken, abruptly cut the microphone, but it was too late. The BDS activists had succeeded, the message was out, Veolia's dirty secrets were out and Veolia's shareholders were asking questions and demanding answers.
"Don't tell us what to accept and what not to accept. Don't teach us what is our right, and what is not our right. For my mother’s house, is my mother’s house. It can never become a zionist place. What is wrong is Israel, you have to tell the truth, what is this nonsense about accepting a racist entity that considers us sub-human, whilst they see themselves as super-human. Don't ever be tempted to tell a lady who has jut been raped that it was okay for her to be raped. And my people have been raped, and rape cannot be accepted, the whole of Palestine will be free - from the sea to the river, from the north to the south, and the refugees will return, and I will go back to my mother’s house. If I don't, I assure you my children will, my grandchildren will. One day we shall return!"