Protesters gathered in New York City on Friday, 14 April to launch the Week of Action for Palestinian Prisoners and provide advance support for the collective hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners scheduled to begin on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network gathered outside the Best Buy electronics store on Union Square in Manhattan, where demonstrators chanted, held signs and distributed materials and information highlighting the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners. The protesters also specifically targeted Hewlett-Packard (HP) products, such as computers, printers and ink sold at Best Buy, urging a boycott of HP products until the corporation ends its contract with the Israel Prison Service and other institutions of repression, colonialism and apartheid in Palestine.
HP provides the database technology for the Israel Prison Service to maintain its records on Palestinian political prisoners. The corporation is also responsible for the Israeli ID card system that institutionalizes apartheid and discrimination against Palestinians and is intimately involved with the systems of control and colonial domination embodied in the checkpoints and Israeli Apartheid Wall. HP is also involved in enforcing the siege on Gaza at the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing; there is a growing Palestinian and international campaign to boycott HP due to its large-scale complicity.
Protesters chanted for Palestinian prisoners, carrying signs and distributing materials highlighting the situation faced by approximately 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, including nearly 600 held without charge or trial under administrative detention and 300 child prisoners.
Following the protest in Union Square, Samidoun protesters headed uptown to the US military recruiting station in Times Square for a protest of ongoing US bombing, invasion and occupation in Afghanistan, especially in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s dropping of the so-called “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan.
The protest was organized by the International League of People’s Struggle – U.S., of which Samidoun is a member organization. Participating organizations included the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Anakbayan NY and SPARC. Speakers included Michela Martinazzi, speaking on behalf of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and ILPS, who noted that “yesterday a 21,000-pound bomb was dropped in Afghanistan. Last week 59 tomahawk missiles were launched into Syria. We have a fleet encroaching on North Korea, and we just put troops in Somalia after 20 years. Donald Trump is beating his war drum and we have to demand an end to all U.S. wars. Demand an end to the U.S. war machine!”
Ann Wright, of Veterans for Peace and the Women’s Boat to Gaza, former U.S. military colonel and antiwar activist, also spoke at the rally against U.S. involvement and war on Afghanistan.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will gather to protest in support of Palestinian prisoners participating in a collective hunger strike on Friday, 21 April outside the Best Buy in Union Square in Manhattan. The demonstration will begin at 5:30 pm and Samidoun organizers urge all to attend to build support for over 1500 Palestinian prisoners going without food for dignity and freedom.