On the Streets to Free Bilal Kayed: Report from International Days of Action for Palestinian Prisoners


People around the world are continuing to mobilize and organize in solidarity with Bilal Kayed, now on his 54th day of hunger strike. In just the past several days, protests in New York City, London, Berlin, Vancouver, Amman, Ein el-Helweh, Wicklow and Galway joined numerous marchers and protesters throughout Palestine to demand freedom for Kayed and the over 100 fellow Palestinian prisoners who have joined in a collective hunger strike to demand his freedom.

Kayed, 34, was ordered to administrative detention on 13 June – when he had been scheduled for release after completing a 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prison. Instead of being released to his waiting family, he was ordered to six months of indefinitely-renewable imprisonment without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence. He immediately launched his hunger strike and today is held shackled hand and foot to a hospital bed in Barzilai Hospital. Kayed, a leader of the prisoners’ movement in Israeli jails, is supported in his strike by comrades in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the broad Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement. Prominent Palestinian prisoners, including PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, have joined the strike in support of Kayed, such as Samer Issawi, Omar Nazzal, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Mohammed Abu Sakha, Hassan Karajah and dozens more. Kayed is one of nearly 750 administrative detainees and 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Daily protests are taking place throughout Palestine for Kayed’s freedom and a series of events and actions are planned for the coming days in Beirut, Brussels, Montreal, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, New York City and elsewhere. In France, imprisoned Lebanese Arab struggler for Palestine Georges Ibrahim Abdallah returned his meals for three days in solidarity with Kayed, along with six more Basque and Arab prisoners; meanwhile the largest coalition of organizations concerned with Palestine, including labor unions and political parties, urged the French government to demand his release. In Naples, Italy, the city council named Kayed an honorary citizen of the city. The Tunisian General Union of Workers called for Kayed’s release, while in Greece, the Public workers’ union, ADEDY, called for a protest for his freedom.

On 20-30 July, a concentrated series of events over these ten days took place around the world as part of Days of Action for Bilal Kayed, urging Kayed’s release alongside his fellow Palestinian prisoners. The Days of Action included the World Student Day of Solidarity for Bilal Kayed and Palestinian Prisoners, called on 25 July by the Progressive Student Labor Front in Palestine.


brussels1In Brussels on 21 July, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joined with community cafe Le Space to host a talk by Kristian Davis Bailey of Black4Palestine and BYP100 (Black Youth Project) Detroit and Khaled Barakat, Palestinian leftist writer. Participants discussed the role of imprisonment and state repression in undermining the Black and Palestinian Liberation movements, as well as addressing current key struggles including movements against policing, Black Lives Matter, the cases of Aiyana Jones and Bilal Kayed, and a number of others. Participants collectively made signs in support of political prisoners and of people whose lives were taken by racist oppression and state violence.


On 27 July in Brussels, protesters took to the streets outside the offices of the European Commission in a demonstration organized by Samidoun with the Palestinian Community of Belgium and Luxembourg and the European Alliance for the Defence of Palestinian Detainees. Sspeakers from a number of organizations demanded freedom for Kayed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. The rally also included a statement from the family of Omar Nayef Zayed, the former Palestinian prisoner whose life was taken in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia as he resisted extradition from Bulgaria to Israel.

New York City

nyc-bilal22-4Protesters gathered in New York City on Friday, 22 July to demand freedom for Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners, organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. The protest took place outside the offices of G4S, the multinational security corporation that contracts with Israel’s prison administration to provide control rooms, security systems, and equipment to the jails that imprison Palestinians.  It also is involved in youth incarceration and migrant deportation and detention in the United States, UK, Australia and elsewhere and is globally criticized for its poor human rights record.Palestinian prisoners, civil society organizations and international groups have urged a boycott of G4S for its profiteering from oppression, apartheid and imprisonment. Full report..


As part of the World Student Day of Solidarity with Bilal Kayed and Palestinian Prisoners,  NYC Students for Justice in Palestine organized a rally outside the Israeli embassy on 25 July demanding freedom for Kayed and fellow Palestinian prisoners. Despite drenching rain, students and supporters gathered to demand Kayed’s release and participate in the world student day of action.  The protest had earlier been threatened by the infamously racist and violent “Jewish Defense League,” identified as responsible for the 1985 assassination of Palestinian American community leader Alex Odeh in Santa Ana, California. However, despite posting racist chants to social media, the JDL counter-protest fizzled with only a few individuals standing in the pouring rain – and departing before the student protest ended. Full report…

nycjoeNew York activists gathered outside the offices of multinational security corporation G4S on Friday, 29 July to demand freedom for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed and that the company get out of the business of profiteering from the occupation of Palestine. The protest on 29 July was the fourth for New York activists in the past week in support of Bilal Kayed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners, following a similar protest on 22 July, participation in the World Student Day of Action on 25 July and joining protests outside the Democratic National Convention on 26 July. Full report…


berlinbk13Candles lit the evening in Berlin’s Hermannplatz on Friday, 22 July, as the Democratic Palestine Committees organized a vigil in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike since 15 June, demanding freedom.  Families with children joined the vigil, as did Palestine solidarity activists, organizers for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and representatives of various Palestinian organizations, including the Palestinian Association of Germany and the Palestinian Community of Germany. Full report…


The Friday evening vigil was followed on Saturday, 23 July by the Democratic Palestine Committees’ participation in the annual Cuba Solidarity Festival, held in Stadtpark Lichtenberg. Palestinian organizers set up a table and falafel stand filled with posters and information about Bilal Kayed and his ongoing hunger strike, and the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom.


Eva_HammadThe Communist Party of Sweden also held a solidarity meeting as an part of its annual summer camp; the meeting took place on 23 July, in the city of Lysekil with a heavy tourist presence in the summer. Communist Party chair Robert Mathiasson spoke about Bilal Kayed and the Palestinian prisoners, while well-known Swedish activist Eva Hammad, once severely wounded in the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel al Zaatar in Lebanon, spoke as well at the public gathering. Full report..




On Saturday 23 July 2016, on London’s Oxford Street – Europe’s busiest shopping area – protestors held a loud and colourful demonstration demanding the release of Bilal Kayed, a Palestinian political prisoner who is now in the second month of a hunger strike. The protest was organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and took place outside the flagship store of Marks and Spencer, Britain’s biggest corporate supporter of Israel. The RCG has organised pickets outside Marks and Spencer for more than 14 years because of the company’s historical links with the zionist movement, and its continuing economic ties with Israel. The 23 July picket was dedicated to the cause of Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners. Full report…



In Cagliari, Sardinia, the annual celebration of Palestinian culture on 23 July, Palestina en Sardegna, highlighted the struggle of Bilal Kayed for freedom. While participants experienced Palestinian food, music and culture, the Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestina featured posters of Bilal Kayed and information about Palestinian Prisoners and the ongoing hunger strike for freedom.


cairo1As part of the World Student Day of Solidarity with Bilal Kayed and Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian students in Egypt and the students of the Karama Party organized an event at the party’s office in Cairo in support of Kayed’s strike, featuring former prisoner Ahmed Abu Saud, speaking about the experience of imprisonment in Israeli jails and the centrality of the prisoners’ struggle to the Palestinian movement for national liberation. Report…

Ain el-Helweh


Following a series of seminars and lectures in the camp, on 25 July, the Youth Campaign to Free Bilal Kayed, composed of Samidoun and the Palestinian Youth Organization, held a protest and demonstration in support of Bilal Kayed, organized as part of theWorld Student Day of Solidarity for Bilal Kayed and Palestinian Prisoners, in a central street of Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon, across from Human Call Hospital. Emergency medical workers at the hospital joined the protest as did other hospital staff, alongside Palestinian children of the camp, youth activists, and other Palestinian refugees in the camp, as a huge Palestinian flag fluttered from above. Full report…



Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Philadelphia outside the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, 26 July, protesting the Democrats’ support for war, occupation, and imperialism; denouncing the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate; and demanding action to stop the ongoing police and state killing of Black people and defend Black lives under attack.  Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine organized an SJP Ona MOVE contingent that focused on the liberation of political prisoners, both Palestinian political prisoners and on political prisoners in US jails, including Mumia Abu-Jamal and the MOVE 9. The contingent was also part of the World Student Day of Solidarity with Bilal Kayed and Palestinian Prisoners. Joe Catron of Samidoun spoke at the march and rally, and read aloud a statement from Mahmoud Kayed, the brother of Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike since 15 June against his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Full report…



In Athens on 29 July, the ADEDY trade union called a demonstration for Kayed’s freedom outside the Israeli Embassy, joined by a number of Palestinian and solidarity organizations who came together in support of Palestinian political prisoners. Participants came from many organizations to demand justice and freedom for all Palestinian prisoners and to highlight the case of Bilal Kayed.


stormontIrish republican socialist group eirigi demanded freedom for Bilal Kayed in Belfast, displaying a banner and distributing literature outside Stormont, demanding Kayed’s freedom from administrative detention and highlighting his lengthy hunger strike. They said, “éirígí once more extends its solidarity to all Palestinian political prisoners, and reiterates its support for the total liberation of Palestine from the auspices of Zionism and Imperialism.”



Mohammed Khatib of Samidoun spoke in Malmo on 28 July on Palestinian prisoners and the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The event addressed the campaign to boycott G4S and the centrality of the campaign to free Palestinian prisoners as part and parcel of the movement for the international isolation of the Israeli state.

Quezon City

quezon-bilalThe Philippines-Palestine Friendship Association successfully held a forum on Palestinian and Lebanese Peoples’ Struggles for National Liberation and against imperialism and Zionism, with guest speakers Arab Network on Food Sovereignty’s (ANFS) Razan Zuayter and Hassan al Jaajaa. Attendees to the forum came from peoples’ and social movements in the Philippines, faith-based networks, ecumenical accompaniers, and foreign delegates. The forum concluded with a short action in support of the global campaign to demand the release of Comrade Bilal Kayed and to condemn Israel’s illegal and wanton use of administrative detention to repress the Palestinian peoples. Full Report..



In Milan, Italy, Fronte Palestina organized a protest at Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan on 29 July, coming together to distribute information to the public and raise the call for freedom for Bilal Kayed and his fellow 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Participants rallied for freedom for Bilal Kayed and fellow Palestinian prisoners, distributing information and inviting people to join the struggle to support Palestinian prisoners under attack.


manchester1In Manchester, Fight Racism Fight Imperialism, the Revolutionary Communist Group and Manchester Palestine Action gathered on 30 July to protest for freedom for Palestine and for Palestinian political prisoners. Protesters rallied in Piccadilly Gardens before marching on corporate supporters of Israeli apartheid and colonialism like Barclays Bank.



Protesters gather in Rabat, Morocco on 30 July as part of the World Student Day of Solidarity with Bilal Kayed and Palestinian Prisoners, outside the Parliament building. The protesters demanded freedom and justice for hunger-striking Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes all of those who have been and continue to organize for freedom for Bilal Kayed and Palestinian prisoners.  We urge the continuation and escalation of protests and actions everywhere in the coming days as Bilal nears 60 days on hunger strike. His health is at risk at any time and it is critical to elevate the level of our international solidarity to create significant and meaningful pressure to support the level of sacrifice and struggle being exercised by Bilal Kayed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. 

We urge all international supporters of justice and liberation for the Palestinian people to meet the prisoners’ sacrifice with struggle: organize protests, actions and demonstrations, and escalate BDS campaigns and the boycott of Israel and complicit corporations like G4S, to demand freedom for Bilal Kayed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners.


Over 150 organizations signed on to the previous call to action to free Bilal Kayed! See the list of organizations below. Events were organized in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, New York, London, Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Amsterdam, The Hague, Toulouse, Torino, Milan, Vancouver and more. Participating organizations have made the call to action about this case available in: French | German | Greek | Italian | Spanish | Turkish | Czech | Dutch Join in!

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Abna’a el-Balad Movement – Palestine
ACAT France
Actions4Palestine – Toronto, Canada
AFPS Association France Palestine Solidarité
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition NY
Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition – US
Alternative Information Center
Asociación Palestina BILADI
Association Belgo-Palestinienne
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) – India
Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine – AURDIP
Association of the Palestinian Community in Scotland
Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestina
BDS Action Calgary
BDS Amsterdam
BDS Austria
BDS Berlin
BDS Hamburg (Germany)
BDS Nederland
BDS Oudàh
BDS Slovenija
BDS Trieste
BDS Turkey (Filistin Için Israil’e Boykot Girisimi)
BDS Vancouver
Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI)
Black Lives Matter Rockland Orange Alliance
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)
Byron Friends of Palestine
Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon
Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat
Campaign to Free Georges Ibrahim Abdallah
Canada Palestine Association
CAPJPO – EuroPalestine
Cátedra de Estudiso Palestinos Edward W. Said
Citizens International – Malaysia
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (Sydney)
Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine
Collettivo Autogestito CASAROSSA40
Comité Palestina Libre / Uruguay
Comite Salta de solidaridad con Palestina
Committee of the Greater ABC/SP of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Brazil
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Committees for a Democratic Palestine – Brazil
Communist Party, Sweden
Contemporary Lawyers Association (Çagdas Hukukçular Dernegi)
Corvallis-Albany Palestine Solidarity
Coup Pour Coup 31
Democratic Lawyers’ Alliance – Palestine
Democratic Palestine Committees – Germany
docP (Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina , Netherlands)
Education Equals Making Community Connections
European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor
Faculty for Palestine (Canada)
February 20 Movement – USA
Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands
Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
Football Against Apartheid
Freedom Archives
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Free Gaza Movement
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)
Friends of Ain el-Helweh, Grenoble
Fronte Palestina
Gaza Action Ireland
Gerechtigkeit und Frieden für Palästina
Gesellschaft Schweiz Palästina
Grandmothers for Peace
Groupe Non-Violent LOUIS LECOIN
Grupo de Tecnología Alternativa S.C.
Gruppo Azione Palestina – Parma
Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners
Handala Cultural Center – Vienna
Hilton Head for Peace
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye Insan Haklari Vakfi)
Human Rights Institute – Bratislava, Slovakia
Human Rights March – Denmark
Hunter College Students for Justice in Palestine
Initiative for a Just Peace in the Middle East – Slovakia
International Action Center
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
International League of Peoples Struggle in Canada
International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
International Solidarity Movement – Palestine
International Solidarity Movement – Northern California
International Solidarity Movement Czech Republic group
Internationale Socialisten
Internationalt Forum/Middle East Group
InvictaPalestina – Torino
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association
Isçi Demokrasisi Partisi (IDP)
Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Labor for Palestine
LADH (Liga Argentina de los Derechos del Hombre)
Landless Workers ‘ Movement (MST) – Brazil
Lefterianews – Greece
Left Perspective – Czech Republic
Leuvense Actiegroep Palestina
Libertarian Lawyers Association (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Dernegi)
London Palestine Action
Los Otros Judios
Merton PSC – London
MRAP Vaucluse
Mouvement Citoyen Palestine
National Jericho Movement
National Lawyers Guild – Palestine Subcommittee
Netherlands Palestine Committee (NPK)
New York City Students for Justice in Palestine
Northeast Political Prisoner Coalition
NY 4 Palestine Coalition
NYC Free Peltier
NYC Friends of MOVE
OPIRG Carleton
Palästinensische Kulturzentrum Schweiz
Palestijnse Gemeenschap in Nederland
Palestina Kommitee Rotterdam
Palestina Rossa
Palestina Solidariteit
Palestine Platform Human Rights and Solidarity (PPMS)
Palestine Solidarity Campaign of South Africa
Palestinian Arab Cultural Center in Brazil – Rio Grande do Sul
Palestinian Arab Cultural Center in Brazil – Sao Paulo
Palestinian Arab Society – Corumba (Brazil)
Palestinian Child and Youth Institute – Lebanon
Palestinian Club in the Czech Republic
Palestinian Democratic Coalition – Chicago
Palestinian Documentation Center
Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee – Palestine
Palestinian Youth Organization
Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine
Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine
Philippines-Palestine Friendship Association
Progressive Palestinian Youth Union – Palestine
Progressive Student Labor Front – Palestine
Proletaren FF, sports club, Sweden
Raja’een Folkloric Dance Troupe
Red Sparks Union
Release Aging People in Prison
Resistance for Free Palestine – Greece
Rete Nazionale “Noi Saremo Tutto”
Revolutionaire Eenheid
Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
Revolutionary Communist Youth, Sweden
Sawt al-Shaab (Voice of the People Radio) – Palestine
SODePAZ Balamil
Solidarity with Novorossiya and Antifascists in Ukraine – NYC
Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine
Stichting Groningen-Jabalya
Studenten Voor Rechtvaardigheid in Palestina- Nijmegen
Studenten voor Rechtvaardigheid in Palestina (SRP) – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
SJP at Sacramento State University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Maastricht
Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island
Students For Justice in Palestine – Rotterdam
UDAP – Unione Democratica Arabo-Palestinese
UJFP French Jewish Union for Peace
Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees – Palestine
United for Palestine
USC Students for Justice in Palestine
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
Vlaams-Socialistische Beweging
Voice of Palestine
West Valley Neighborhoods Coalition
Women In Black International(Seattle USA chapter)
Women in Black (Vienna)
Women in Black The Netherlands