On Friday 24 June, a group of thirty people protested in The Hague in the Netherlands for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed and against state pension benefits for Israeli settlers. The action, organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, was supported by a dozen organizations and was part of international protests for the freedom of Bilal Kayed in many cities, including New York, Berlin, Brussels and Paris.
Along the route from the Central Station to the Drees-monument, chants were shouted such as ‘free, free Bilal Kayed’ and ‘geen AOW voor kolonisten’ (‘no state pension for settlers’). Flyers were distributed to bystanders and the message of the protest was spread. Some bystanders spontaneously joined the protest.
Before arriving to the Drees-monument, a stop was made at the Israeli embassy to make them hear the protest. At the Drees-monument there were speeches by Het Palestijnse Huis, the Palestinian Women Association Netherlands and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Said spoke on behalf of Samidoun, noting that “I was asked to speak here because I spent four months in a Dutch jail after the murder of Mitch Henriquez…so I’m supposed to say that I know how it feels to be oppressed, that I know how it feels to be locked up. But the truth is that I have no idea how it feels to be locked up for 14.5 years and now not know when I will be getting out. But hundreds of Palestinians know this…there are thousands of Palestinians locked up now in Israeli jails…Now the question we should ask is why? Why are there so many Palestinians locked up in Israeli jails?…The only way Palestinians can free themselves is by resisting, and Palestinians are an example of resistance for all oppressed peoples in the world.”
Addressing racism and oppression in the Netherlands, he said, “We are attacked by the police. We are beaten with their bats. They abuse us, they break our bodies, but if we defend ourselves, they charge us with public violence…the same goes for Palestine. Palestine is occupied, the people are faced with the biggest cruelty, but when they resist, the only thing that awaits them is comrade Bilal’s fate!…As long as we live under imperialism, no oppressed people will be free.”
See the video of Said’s full speech:
The protest was attended by photographer RomyClick, who produced a series of photos of the event.