On Saturday, 24 October, protesters gathered in Beirut outside the French embassy to demand freedom for Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese Arab Communist struggler for Palestine jailed in France. The rally marked the beginning of Georges Abdallah’s 37th year in prison and accompanied the mass march to Lannemezan prison in France as well as actions in Frankfurt, Tunis, Ramallah, Gaza and elsewhere to demand his freedom.
The French embassy was surrounded by large numbers of police, while many roads were closed around the location, making it difficult for participants to find a path to the demonstration. Still, despite all the serious political, economic and social difficulties facing Lebanon, a strong crowd turned out to demand the immediate release of a Lebanese freedom fighter and political prisoner jailed in France. Youth from the north and south of Lebanon traveled to Beirut to join the demonstration.
“We are now gathered here, coinciding with the central demonstration now underway in France and specifically in front of where he is being held in Lannemezan prison. It is clear that the issue of Georges is not only a Lebanese or Palestinian national issue, as George has struggled since his youth with the Palestinian resistance factions, but rather an issue of the global fight for freedom and the right of peoples to self-determination,” declared the statement of the Lebanese Campaign to Free Georges Abdallah, read out at the demonstration.
The protest took place a few hours before another demonstration in Beirut, marking the 96th anniversary of the formation of the Lebanese Communist Party. This mass demonstration marched from the Hamra neighborhood of Beirut to the downtown district, and included many slogans of support for the liberation of Palestine and resistance to imperialism as well as banners and flags carrying Georges Abdallah’s image. Georges Abdallah’s family members, including his brother and sister, took part in both marches.
Remarking on the protest, Mohammed Khatib, Europe coordinator of Samidoun, said, “There is a new generation in Lebanon, the Georges Abdallah generation of youth that wont give up the struggle. Seeing the youth and our Lebanese comrades protest today in front of the French colonial embassy, for the liberation of Georges Abdallah and all Palestinian political prisoners, and also confronting the colonial role that the French state and its president, Emmanuel Macron, are trying to play in Lebanon for their imperial benefit, is a strong inspiration. This is particularly important amid the economic and social situation in the country. We hear Georges’ name on the lips of new organizers and young revolutionaries. This is a victory for Georges’ struggle and for the people’s movement.”