Protesters in New York City gathered in the rain on Monday, 7 August to demand freedom for Bilal Diab and all Palestinian prisoners. Diab, a Palestinian prisoner held in isolation in the Israeli Megiddo prison, has been on hunger strike for over three weeks against his administrative detention without charge or trial.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest outside the Best Buy electronics store in Manhattan’s Union Square. Participants chanted and carried signs depicting Diab, who is on his second long-term hunger strike against imprisonment without charge or trial. Diab went on hunger strike in 2012 alongside Thaer Halahleh when the two were similarly jailed under administrative detention to demand their freedom; they ended their strike in an agreement after 78 days.
They distributed information and materials about the global campaign to boycott Hewlett-Packard corporations because of HP’s contracts with the Israeli occupation, including the identity card and checkpoint system, the Israeli occupation military and the prison system that holds approximately 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners, including over 500 administrative detainees like Diab. The protests are part of a growing international call for a boycott of HP consumer products, including computers, laptops, printers and accessories. Labor unions and churches are involved in declaring themselves HP-free zones in protest of the corporation’s involvement and complicity in human rights violations.
Administrative detention orders are issued by Israeli military commanders or the defense minister for periods of one to six months. They are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians have spent years at a time imprisoned without charge or trial. Diab is demanding his release and an end to the policy of administrative detention.
Samidoun activists will also support people facing political repression in New York City. Activists will be participating on Thursday, 10 August in a court support action for Darryl Goodwin, a New York City transit worker facing serious charges because he did not immediately stop assisting a passenger and open subway gates for an NYPD lieutenant, despite MTA rules requiring workers assisting passengers before addressing gate access issues. Goodwin is a member of TWU Local 100 and a 27-year veteran of the MTA.
Samidoun is also organizing a protest on Monday, 14 August at 4:30 pm in Union Square in support of Rasmea Odeh. The protest comes as part of a series of nationwide events – including the Farewell to Rasmea Odeh organized in Chicago by the Rasmea Defense Committee and an action in Detroit to support Rasmea in court on 17 August – supporting the former Palestinian political prisoner and revered community leader as she faces deportation from the United States. All supporters of Palestine are urged to attend the events in support of Rasmea.