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.
"Its important to choose a strategy that doesn't end up diverting attention from the issue.. the other side wants nothing more than to divert attention from what the record shows, what the human rights record shows, what the UN record and so forth - they don't want to talk about that because once they start talking about that they loose. They'd rather talk about anti-Semitism, the Nazi holocaust - anything accept Israel and Palestine. With that in mind you have to be careful that you don't embark on a tactic which is going to end up diverting people from Israel-Palestine.. You don't' want to choose grey areas, you always want to choose black and white areas where there is no room for discussion, where there is no room for debate. This is black and white: World Court decision [wall and settlements illegal] 14 to 1. Human rights issues - Amnesty says Israel tortures, Human Rights Watch says Israel tortures, B'Tselem says Israel tortures, everyone says it - its black and white. And the other side has to end up with some ridiculous proposition as Professor Dershowitz put it 'they're all lying'."