German stadium lights 20,000 candles for Qatar migrant worker fatalities

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German stadium lights 20,000 candles for Qatar migrant worker fatalities

German stadium lights 20,000 candles for Qatar migrant worker fatalities

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2022

Reuters

20,000 candles flickered in the stands of a German football stadium on Sunday (November 20) as part of a protest against Qatar’s human rights record, organised by the German labour welfare organisation AWO and artist Volker-Johannes Trieb.

Hundreds of volunteers lit the candles on Germany’s Day of the Dead that also coincides with the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

6,500 footballs filled with sand were also laid out in the stadium, to commemorate the thousands of migrant labourers killed on World Cup construction sites in Qatar, according to an AWO press release.

“There is no exact figure available of those who have died and there probably never will be. I don’t have the words. Slavery that ends in death and grief is disgusting. The games that are starting today have been bought with pain and death. This is the bloodiest World Cup there has ever been,” said artist and protest initiator, Trieb.

Hundreds of volunteers including school pupils spent the day setting up the protest in the stadium at Castle Struenkede in Herne.

According to an AWO press release, more than 15,000 migrant labourers have been killed whilst building Qatar stadiums for the tournament.

“We are here because we want to protest against the World Cup in Qatar and we think it is unacceptable to break human rights like this and that’s why we had to do something,” said one of the unnamed volunteers.

Artist Volker-Johannes Trieb poses for the photographers holding a soccer ball filled with sand and one of a total of 20,000 candles set at stadium Struenkede Castle during the opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to commemorate what the event organizers say are deaths of thousands of workers who lost their lives to build the stadiums for the tournament in Qatar, a claim disputed by Qatar, in Herne, Germany,Artist Volker-Johannes Trieb poses for the photographers holding a soccer ball filled with sand and one of a total of 20,000 candles set at stadium Struenkede Castle during the opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to commemorate what the event organizers say are deaths of thousands of workers who lost their lives to build the stadiums for the tournament in Qatar, a claim disputed by Qatar, in Herne, Germany,

“It is outrageous that FIFA puts on a World Cup in winter and even though they have known what has been going on there over the last years insisted on sticking to the plan. It’s outrageous!”, another volunteer added.

Sunday’s protest was the second event organised by AWO and Trieb. In April, the group deposited sand-filled footballs outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup, has come under intense international pressure for its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws on homosexuality and women’s rights.

Disquiet over the country’s human rights record has led to calls for teams and officials to boycott the games at the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.

Reuters

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