Milan, Paris, Manchester: Protests and actions demand freedom for Palestinian political prisoners

Protests and actions in a number of cities stood in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners struggling for freedom, with a number of events focusing on the struggle of imprisoned women as part of International Women’s Day events and actions.

In Milan, Italy on Friday, 10 March, Fronte Palestina organized a protest in solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, then on his 33rd day of hunger strike. Later in the day, al-Qeeq ended his strike in an agreement securing his release on 14 April. He is imprisoned without charge or trial under the Israeli policy of “administrative detention,” under which nearly 600 Palestinians are detained. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable, and many Palestinians have been imprisoned for years at a time under such orders.

The Milan protest also focused on the Israeli assassination of Palestinian youth leader Basil al-Araj, shot down in a hail of Israeli occupation forces’ bullets in a home in El-Bireh on Monday morning, 6 March. Al-Araj was widely known for his involvement in a range of activities, including protests, demonstrations, youth organizing projects and oral history work; he resisted the occupation soldiers until his last breath. He and five of his comrades were imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority for five months in 2016, in a case touted as an example of security coordination with the Israeli occupation; today, four of his comrades are held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Israeli occupation forces continue to refuse to return his imprisoned body to his family for burial. In cities across Europe, North America and the Arab world, Palestinian youth are organizing protests to demand an end to PA security coordination and the return of al-Araj’s body on 12 and 13 March.

Photos: Fronte Palestina

As part of International Women’s Day actions in Paris and Israeli Apartheid Week activities, CAPJPO-EuroPalestine brought together around 40 people to participate in the Women’s March in Paris on 8 March, holding the images and names of Palestinian women political prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons.

Installed PluginsAmong others, they higlighted the cases of women and girls, including lawyer Shireen Issawi, student Shorouq Dwayyat, teen Malak Salman, severely injured Israa Jaabis, administrative detainee Sabah Faraoun, and longest-held Palestinain woman prisoner Lena Jarbouni. The group chanted for justice and freedom for Palestinian women prisoners, denouncing the torture to which they were subject and saluting their resistance.

Full report and photos in French:

Photos: CAPJPO-EuroPalestine

Meanwhile, in Manchester, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Student society at Manchester University gathered outside the Student Union on Wednesday, 8 March to highlight the struggles of Palestinian women prisoners and demand freedom for all imprisoned Palestinians. Protesters focused on the imprisonment of Lena Jarbouni, the longest-held Palestinian political prisoner and a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, calling for her release.

Protesters noted that G4S, despite selling off most of its involvement in occupied Palestine, retains a stake in the Policity training center for the Israeli police. G4S operates security services at Manchester University. Organizers also noted the widespread attempts of pro-Zionist organizations to suppress student organizing for Palestine and Israeli Apartheid Week activities throughout the UK, highlighting the importance of campus events and protests for Palestine.

Photos: Andrew McCoy