Protesters in New York City gathered on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, 17 April, for a protest against Palestinian Authority security coordination with Israel and freedom for Palestinian prisoners. The protest, part of the “End Security Coordination” campaign of young Palestinians, was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement outside the Palestinian mission to the United Nations.
Participants in the action represented a number of organizations and projects, including Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Existence is Resistance, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine and Decolonize This Place. Speakers urged an end to security coordination and freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners.
The protest also honored the 40th day after the assassination of Palestinian youth leader Basil al-Araj, who only months before had been imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority with his comrades. Their arrest was trumpeted at the time by PA President Mahmoud Abbas as showing the value of PA security coordination with Israel.
Palestinian youth and community activists also held a simultaneous event in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in the heart of the Palestinian community, where they created a cardboard tree and collected “leaves” of messages for Palestine to honor al-Araj.
The action in New York joined other protests commemorating al-Araj and Palestinian Prisoners’ Day with a demand to end security coordination in Malmo, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Amman, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, DC.
In Washington, protesters with the Palestinian Youth Movement and other organizations gathered outside the Palestinian Mission to the United States, demanding an end to security coordination and posting signs on the building with their messages to the Palestinian Authority.
In Boston, activists posted signs near the Park Street MBTA station highlighting the life of al-Araj, the imprisonment of Palestinians and the Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli jails. Participants also expressed solidarity with the Black liberation struggle in the United States, noting the role of mass incarceration in the suppression of the Black community.
San Diego youth activists hosted a discussion of Palestinian political prisoners and the role of security coordination in continuing colonial occupation in Palestine, while in Los Angeles, activists held a protest for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day outside the Israeli Consulate, demanding freedom for Palestinian prisoners.
Later in the evening in Los Angeles, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA hosted Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Henry “Hank” Jones for a discussion about Black and Palestinian struggles for liberation on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley. Both Abdulhadi and Jones were members of the U.S. Prison, Labor and Academic Delegation to Palestine in March 2016, which released a strong solidarity statement on 17 April 2016 in commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.
Additional events are taking place throughout the United States as part of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Week of Action and in support of Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike. On Friday, 21 April, Samidoun will protest in New York City outside the Best Buy in Union Square at 5:30 pm. The protest will support the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, urge the immediate implementation of their demands, and call for the boycott of HP products until the corporation ends its involvement in profiteering from the Israeli imprisonment, colonization and occupation of Palestinians. All supporters of justice for Palestine are invited to attend to show support for the prisoners’ struggle.