Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets on Saturday, 21 December in Ramallah to march for Palestinian political prisoners. Samidoun Network in Palestine joined with many other organizations and activists to call for the rally at Manara Square. Organized with a call for a human chain to support 5000 prisoners, the organizers emphasized that “Prisoners are not a number,” carrying the names and photos of Palestinians jailed by the Israeli occupation.
The march wound through the streets of central Ramallah, as marchers carried banners highlighting women prisoners, student prisoners and hunger strikers fighting back against imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Participants in the demonstration emphasized the ongoing and escalating Israeli attacks on Palestinian youth and students, including the targeting for arrest of student leaders at various university campuses, such as Mays Abu Ghosh and Shatha Hassan, Bir Zeit student council leader recently arrested and jailed without charge. They also focused on the severe torture faced by Palestinian detainees, including Abu Ghosh and Samer Arbeed, the Palestinian father who was tortured so badly that he spent weeks in a coma and suffered 11 broken ribs.
One lead banner featured Abu Ghosh, fellow imprisoned student Samah Jaradat, Amal Taqatqa and injured prisoner Israa Jaabis, along with a list of the names of the Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli jails. Participants also carried posters and banners hailing imprisoned political leaders like Ahmad Sa’adat and Khalida Jarrar.
The large march, led by Palestinian youth and, especially, young women, focused on the prisoners as an essential component of the Palestinian liberation movement who will not be forgotten or abandoned inside Israeli prisons. There are currently approximately 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including around 450 jailed without charge or trial under indefinitely renewable “administrative detention” orders. Ahmad Zahran, one of these administrative detainees, has been on hunger strike for nearly 100 days to demand his release.
Speaking about the Ramallah march and ongoing actions inside Palestine for the Palestinian prisoners, Joe Catron, U.S. coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network said, “Samidoun activists under the Zionist occupation set a challenging example for the rest of us. Their steadfastness in the face of the enemy’s direct repression is a constant reminder of our obligation to support the Palestinian struggle for national liberation under the much easier circumstances we face. And their courage and innovation dare us to resist limitations on our own struggles against capitalism and imperialism.”