Chants for Palestine rang out in New York City’s Union Square outside the Best Buy electronics store on Friday, 13 January as Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network protested in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. The protest, part of the international days of action to free imprisoned Palestinian leader and PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners, also highlighted the growing international boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) companies for their role in profiteering from Israeli imprisonment and oppression of Palestinians.
Protesters passed out leaflets to passers-by and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Free all Palestinian political prisoners” outside the store. Leaflets highlighted the case of Ahmad Sa’adat as well as the campaign to boycott HP products.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise contracts with an array of Israeli state and military agencies to back up their technology of repression; specifically, HPE contracts with the Israel Prison Service for its database of prisoners, as well as producing the biometric ID system used at Israeli checkpoints that block Palestinian movement throughout the West Bank.
A group from the ANSWER Coalition joined the protest, carrying signs to free Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners as well as supporting the Palestinian liberation struggle. ANSWER participants and protesters from the International Action Center discussed plans for anti-war and anti-imperialist protests on 20 January in Washington DC and New York City during the Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.
Samidoun organizers will be participating in the New York City and Washington DC protests on 20 January against war, imperialism and the Trump inauguration, and will return to the Union Square Best Buy on Friday, 27 January at 5:30 pm to demand freedom for Nael Barghouthi, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner today held in arbitrary detention awaiting a ruling from a secret Israeli military committee, and build the boycott of HP.
The Friday protest was part of the launch of international days of action in solidarity with Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners, marking the 15th anniversary of his seizure by Palestinian Authority security forces on 15 January 2002 at the behest of Israel, the United States and United Kingdom under so-called “security cooperation” between the PA and Israel. Sa’adat was held in the PA prison in Jericho until 16 March 2006, when the prison itself was attacked and Sa’adat and his comrades kidnapped by Israeli occupation military forces; today, he is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli prison. Events took place around the world, in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Turkey, France, Denmark, Palestine and Lebanon, demanding freedom for Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners.