New Yorkers protested on Friday, 22 April for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners and the boycott of security conglomerate G4S. Part of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network’s weekly protests outside the New York City offices of the security corporation that provides control rooms, security systems and equipment to Israeli prisons, detention centers and checkpoints, the protest responded to Israeli attacks on Palestinian prisoners in Nafha prison.
On 13 April and a week later on 20 April, Israeli forces in Nafha prison attacked Palestinian prisoners with tear gas and pepper spray, injuring dozens of Palestinians and sparking a day-long hunger strike protest among 3,000 Palestinian prisoners on 17 April. Palestinian prisoners inside Nafha and other prisons called for a “day of anger” and mass protests in response to the attacks.
Participants in the protest expressed their solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, demanding their freedom. They also demanded that G4S get out of the business of profiting from the imprisonment of Palestinians. G4S has lost contracts around the world following global boycott calls from Palestinian prisoners and civil society, and campaigns against its complicity in the imprisonment of Palestinians, as well as its involvement in youth incarceration and migrant detention in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere. G4S has pledged to exit these “reputationally damaging” businesses – including selling off its entire Israeli subsidiary – within the next one to two years, but Palestinian organizers have emphasized the necessity of keeping up the pressure on G4S so long as it remains part of the oppression and imprisonment of Palestinians.
Samidoun will protest next Friday, 29 April outside the G4S office at 19 W. 44th Street in Manhattan, at 4:00 pm, focusing on the case of Sami Janazrah, a Palestinian held in administrative detention without charge or trial who has now been on hunger strike for 52 days demanding his release.
Photos: Joe Catron