Protesters gathered in Brussels, Belgium on 19 April to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and express support for the struggle of approximately 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners engaged in a hunger strike in Israeli jails to achieve a series of demands for basic human rights.
The protest, organized by the Palestinian Community of Belgium and Luxembourg, gathered at Schuman Rond-Point across from the headquarters of the European Commission; crowds filled the roundabout as participants carried a massive Palestinian flag. A number of organizations joined the call for the protest, including the European Alliance in Defence of Palestinian Detainees, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Plate-forme Charleroi Palestine, the Arab Cultural Center of Liege, the Association Belgo-Palestinienne in Liege, and the Comite pour Vigilance pour Democracie en Tunisie.
Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and large posters and signs of various Palestinian political prisoners, including imprisoned PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat and Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi. Speakers urged the intensification of boycott campaigns while chants called for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners and for the land and people of Palestine.
Participants also carried flags and banners demanding freedom for Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine held in French prisons for 32 years.
Raj’een Palestinian Dabkeh Troupe performed at the protest, waving Palestinian flags as they performed traditional Palestinian folk dance in support of the Palestinian political prisoners.
Belgium’s KULeuven and the Judicial Police are partners in the EU-funded LAW-TRAIN project, along with the Spanish government and the Israeli national police. A growing campaign in Belgium is highlighting the project’s complicity in torturous interrogations and human rights violations by the Israeli police against Palestinian detainees, and demanding Belgium pull out of the LAW-TRAIN project and reject any future such initiatives.