New York City activists gathered on Friday, 26 May to protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and demand freedom for all Palestinian prisoners. The protest, outside Best Buy in Union Square, also urged consumers to participate in the growing global boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) products, as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) operates a number of contracts with the Israeli occupation, including with the military, the checkpoint system and the Israel Prison Service.
The protest was organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. Participants distributed information to passers-by about the situation of nearly 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the hunger strike of 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners. They provided information to consumers at Best Buy – which sells HP laptops, printers, ink and other computer and printer supplies – about HP’s profiteering from the occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.
The protest marked the 40th day of the Strike of Freedom and Dignity, around which prisoners reached an agreement the following day for the suspension of their open hunger strike involving increased family visits and improvement in conditions of living and transit for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In addition, the New York City action was part of a global day of action for the strike’s 40th day called by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (National Committee), urging international actions for a military embargo of Israel. Protesters demanded that Hewlett-Packard end its contracts with Israel’s prisons, detention centers, military and security forces.
Protesters’ signs highlighted the cases of some of the leaders of the strike, including imprisoned Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, and longest-serving Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi. All, along with other leaders of the strike, were targeted for heavy repression, including frequent arbitrary and abusive transfers, solitary confinement and isolation.
Samidoun will continue its protests and actions in support of freedom and justice for Palestinian political prisoners and liberation for Palestine, including its weekly Friday protests outside Best Buy. The next New York City action will take place at 5:30 pm on Friday, 2 June at the Best Buy in Union Square, at 52 E. 14th St in Manhattan. All supporters of justice and liberation for Palestine are invited to attend.