Organizations and activists around the world demanded freedom for Palestinian political prisoners as part of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Week of Action between 17 and 23 April. Every year, since 1974, Palestinians, Arabs and internationalists commemorate a day of action on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. This week of action involves protests, boycott actions, mobilization and education to demand freedom for all Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel, expose the complicity of imperialist and reactionary regimes and stand with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance.
The Week of Action also comes to a close as Palestinians in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine are resisting escalating attacks by the Israeli occupation, including racist Zionist mobs roaming the streets of occupied Jerusalem and the threatened expulsion of Palestinian families from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, both manifestations of the ongoing Nakba carried out by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people. We urge all friends and supporters of Palestine to continue to take action and stand with the Palestinian people and their heroic resistance, confronting colonial incarceration, land theft, home demolition, siege on Gaza, denial of the right to return, military occupation, extrajudicial executions, apartheid and colonialism. Join in the Week of Action for Palestinian Struggle, 15-22 May 2021 – read the call from the Masar Badil (Alternative Palestinian Path) and take action in your community. Protests are already being organized in Berlin, New York, Athens and more: Organize for Palestine’s liberation, from the river to the sea!
Events and Actions for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Week of Action
During the Week of Action, Samidoun launched the Communicating despite the jailer – Letters to our prisoners in occupation’s jails campaign, soliciting online messages and letters to Palestinian prisoners from people around the world. Hundreds of letters have already been submitted. These letters will be translated to Arabic and read over radio programs by Samidoun Palestine, reaching the prisoners directly inside occupation prisons. Many will also be posted on the Samidoun website in the coming days and weeks. Add your letter (form available in English, Arabic, German, Spanish and French: https://samidoun.net/letters )
Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine organized two events on 17 April and 18 April in support of Palestinian prisoners. On Saturday, 17 April — Palestinian Prisoners’ Day — Samidoun joined together with the youth committee in Beit Ummar, al-Khalil, occupied Palestine, to visit with prisoners’ families and extend support and collective commitment to see all 4,500 Palestinian prisoners liberated from Israeli occupation prisons.
That evening, following Taraweeh prayers, night prayers performed during Ramadan, Samidoun activists, family members of prisoners and youth in Al-Arroub refugee camp near al-Khalil gathered to recognize Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and call for the liberation of imprisoned Palestinian strugglers.
The following day, Sunday, 18 April, Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine gathered in the village of Kobar, outside Ramallah.
They gathered to salute the Palestinian prisoners, including the longest-held prisoner, Nael Barghouthi, himself from Kobar. They met with the families of prisoners and martyrs, especially Dr. Widad Barghouthi, Bir Zeit University professor, mother of the prisoners Qassam and Karmel Barghouthi, whose home was demolished by the Israeli occupation.
On 21 April, Samidoun Palestine in Yabad, Jenin, Palestine, postered on the walls of the village with images and slogans in support of Palestinian political prisoners, including Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, jailed in France for nearly 37 years.
They followed up on this by meeting with the families of child prisoners throughout Yabad, expressing support and pledging not to leave imprisoned Palestinian children alone.
These events came amid a number of demonstrations and actions throughout occupied Palestine organized by many groups and organizations to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, including protests and marches in Ramallah, Gaza City, Nablus and elsewhere. In Rafah, Gaza, Palestinians protested for the release of all Palestinian prisoners, highlighting the case of Georges Abdallah, imprisoned in France for the past 37 years. They also carried signs for the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, based in Toulouse, France, a member organization of the Samidoun Network.
The Collectif Palestine Vaincra (a member organization of the Samidoun Network) kicked off the Week of Action for Palestinian Prisoners in Toulouse, France with a Palestine Stand on Saturday, 17 April.
For over two hours, the Collectif organized an information booth, distributed hundreds of leaflets on Palestinian prisoners, discussed with passers-by, played Palestinian music and presented several speeches over the loudspeaker explaining how mass incarceration is a colonial weapon in the hands of the Israeli occupation.
Collectif Palestine Vaincra continued their actions throughout the week. On Saturday, 24 April, the collective organized a new Palestine Stand in Toulouse to promote the boycott of Teva, the Israeli pharmaceutical firm:
Later that day, the Collectif joined a large demonstration against Islamophobia, systemic racism and the “separatism law” in Toulouse:
Also on 17 April, the Unitary Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah marked Palestinian Prisoners Day and international political prisoners’ day in Paris, France, with a rally and action, and will be releasing videos throughout the week in support of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian struggle for freedom, as well as the liberation of Georges Abdallah from French prisons after 36 years.
Also in Paris, on 23 April, the Unitary Campaign joined a popular demonstration for social and economic justice, highlighting the case of Georges Abdallah.
On 24 April in Paris, CAPJPO-EuroPalestine organized a demonstration to demand freedom for Palestinian child prisoners. There are approximately 150 Palestinian children currently jailed by the Israeli occupation.
Activists urged the expansion of the campaign to boycott Israel and called for freedom for Georges Abdallah.
In Tarbes, France, the Collectif 65 pour la libération de Georges Abdallah gathered to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on 17 April, displaying signs and banners highlighting the imprisonment of Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned for over 36 years in French prisons.
In Roubaix, France, activists created a mural on the wall on 17 April demanding the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.
In Lyon, France, activists marked Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on 17 April. The Collectif 69 de Soutien au Peuple Palestinien distributed over 500 leaflets calling for the release of Georges Abdallah, and collecting dozens of cards to send to French president Emmanuel Macron demanding his liberation.
In Grenay, France, the Muncipality organized a commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on 17 April, highlighting in particular the campaigns for the liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from French jails and the liberation of Marwan Barghouthi and his fellow political prisoners in Palestine.
On 17 April in Pays de Morlaix, France, the AFPS (Association France-Palestine Solidarite) organized a large display and street theater performance highlighting Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. They displayed a banner demanding freedom for Palestinian prisoners above the town market and read out testimonies from imprisoned Palestinians.
On 19 April, AFPS 63 in Clermont-Ferrand made a presentation to dozens of people at the Comédie hall, part of a protest occupation since 15 March 2021. They highlighted the centrality of the prisoners’ struggle to justice and liberation in Palestine, urged a broad boycott of Israel to free Palestinian prisoners and gathered letters of solidarity in support of Georges Abdallah and imprisoned Palestinian children.
In Saint Girons, France, Couserans-Palestine organized a table at the Market on Saturday, 24 April, highlighting Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom. They distributed information about Palestinian political prisoners, administrative detention without charge or trial and the Israeli apartheid regime in Palestine.
Further organizations in France designed posters and issued solidarity statements for Palestinian political prisoners, as well as organizing actions in cities, towns and communities such as Auch. The Union des Etudiants Communistes created a poster highlighting the hundreds of Palestinian students jailed by the Israeli occupation and demanding their freedom. Communist Youth in Saint-Etienne also produced a report on the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, highlighting the campaign for the Week of Action.
On 17 April, an enthusiastic march for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day wound through Neukölln, Berlin, Germany, organized by Samidoun Deutschland in partnership with several organizations, including Palästina Spricht Palestine Speaks, FOR-Palestine, Young Struggle Europe, Volksrat der Eelam Tamilen – Deutschland e.V., und Netzwerk Freiheit für alle politischen Gefangenen.
Marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, the march progressed from Rathaus Neukölln to Hermannplatz, marching through Sonnenallee, home to many Palestinian and Arab restaurants and businesses in Berlin.
They concluded by calling on attendees’ to join and mobilize for the 15 May March for Return and Liberation in Berlin.
In Stuttgart, the Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, together with several organizations, joined in an anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstration on 17 Apri in the city with signs, banners and Palestinian flags to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The committee drew attention to the campaign to free Palestinian students and highlighted the conditions and unjust detention of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
In Frankfurt, members of Samidoun Deutschland organized a public display on 17 April highlighting the imprisonment of Palestinian students, with large posters and collages of the photos of jailed students in Israeli prisons. They set up a wooden chair to illustrate the stress positions and forms of torture used by Israeli interrogators against Palestinian students and other political prisoners.
Palestinian and Arab community organizations in Germany also organized sit-ins and actions in Köln, Koblenz and elsewhere on 17 April.
On Friday, 23 April, Samidoun Deutschland took to the streets in Frankfurt, displaying slogans in solidarity with Palestinians fighting land confiscation in Sheikh Jarrah, struggling for freedom in occupation prisons, remembering Basil al-Araj and calling for a complete boycott of Israel.
In Gothenburg, Sweden, Samidoun Göteborg joined with anti-imperialist organizations for a banner display and public action on Saturday, 17 April, marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. They distributed information and displayed banners and posters calling for the liberation of Georges Abdallah, all Palestinian prisoners, and liberation for Palestine.
Also on 17 April, in Stockholm, Sweden, Samidoun Stockholm, together with Aktion Proletär Järva and Rojavakommittéerna Stockholm, organized a public action for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. They distributed leaflets and information and delivered a speech: “Freedom for Ahmad Sa ‘adat! Freedom for Khitam Safin! Freedom for Khalida Jarrar! And freedom for all political prisoners from Palestine to Ireland and from the US to Morocco!”
Samidoun Malmö and the Sweden Local Preparatory Committee for the Alternative Palestinian Path (Masar Badil) organized an online event over Zoom on Sunday, 18 April. Moderated by former Palestinian political prisoner and poet Dareen Tatour, the event featured a number of released prisoners, including Shatha Hassan, Susan Oweiwi, Hamza Younis and Abu Aseel Asaleh. The Masar Badil also released the following short animated video highlighting Palestinian Prisoners’ Day:
In Madrid, Spain, Samidoun España, Alkarama, and international associations for political prisoners gathered for a protest outside the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Relations on Saturday, 17 April to demand freedom for Palestinian political prisoners and international revolutionary prisoners.
They carried signs and banners demanding freedom for Palestinians in Zionist, Arab and imperialist jails, including Khitam Saafin, Ahmad Sa’adat, Ramy Shaath, Issam Hijjawi Bassalat, Georges Abdallah and Ghassan Najjar.
For the Week of Action for Palestinian Prisoners, Palestina Libre Murcia and Samidoun in Murcia organized a video reading out the call to action in Spanish and highlighting the posters and images of many Palestinian political prisoners.
On 21 April, the Palestine.gal Platform, of which Confederación Intersindical Galega is a part, delivered a letter to the three parliamentary groups of the Galiza Parliament, in Santiago de Compostela, requesting a position condemning the situation of Palestinian prisoners.
In Brussels, Belgium, the Palestinian Community In Belgium and Luxembourg, Intal, and many other organizations protested outside the Gare Centrale, the central train station, marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and calling for the liberation of detained Palestinians.
Luk Vervaet delivered a speech at the protest, in which he linked the imprisonment of Palestinians with the criminalization of the movement, highlighting the cases of Samidoun, Collectif Palestine Vaincra, CAPJPO-EuroPalestine and Palestine Action and urging collective solidarity.
On 17 April, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Revolutionary Communist Group joined a #KillTheBill protest in Manchester, Britain, resisting the unjust, oppressive police legislation. They carried Palestinian flags and signs highlighting Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom.
The following week, on 24 April in London, the Revolutionary Communist Group and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! organized the Break the Chains! protest for political prisoners, highlighting the birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal, U.S. political prisoner of the Black Liberation Movement as well as the campaigns to free Palestinian prisoners and all revolutionary prisoners. Both Samidoun and Collectif Palestine Vaincra provided statements read out at the demonstration.
In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Samidoun Nederland marked Palestinian Prisoners’ Day with postering, displaying signs and images demanding freedom for the hundreds of Palestinian student prisoners inside Israeli jails and the liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.
On Sunday, 25 April, the Samidoun Network in Greece and the Anti-Imperialist Front organized a protest in Athens, Greece urging freedom for revolutionary political prisoners, including Palestinian political prisoners and international prisoners, such as Ali Osman Kose and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Signs, posters and chants in Turkish, Greek and Arabic accompanied the event.
The Lebanese Democratic Youth Union conducted a public education campaign on the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah in the Ruwais neighborhood of Beirut on 17 April, calling for his liberation and highlighting the need for popular struggle to obtain his freedom.
Also on 17 April, the Palestinian Arab Cultural Center in Baddawi Refugee Camp in Lebanon created a solidarity video highlighting Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for liberation:
On 18 April, the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, with Muhjat al-Quds, organized a program for Palestinian Prisoners Day in Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon. They displayed photos and played videos highlighting the prisoners’ struggle for liberation, including a message from Samidoun.
Puerto Rican former political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera issued a new painting highlighting the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Oscar was the longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner – 36 years – released in 2017. He remains a committed Independentista – insisting that the US has no right to keep Puerto Rico as a colony and demanding freedom for his people. The poster salutes the The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine.
From Ireland, Stephen Murney, the head of the International Department of Saoradh, issued a solidarity statement and message in support of Palestinian political prisoners and the Week of Action, highlighting the deep ties of struggle between the Irish and Palestinian liberation movements.
In Derry, Ireland, Saoradh activists engaged in banner drops at various locations throughout the city highlighting the struggle of Palestinian prisoners:
Saoradh members from County Cork, Ireland, also took part in the International Week for Palestinian prisoners, while in East Tyrone, Ireland, Saoradh and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association sent solidarity greetings to Palestinian strugglers.
On 23 April, Saoradh activists gathered outside the historic Kilminhaim Gaol to show support for Palestinian political prisoners and demand the liberation of Dr. Issam Hijjawi Bassalat, jailed alongside Irish Republicans as a political prisoner of Britain:
Saoradh activists in Belfast, Ireland also took part in the Week of Action for Palestinian political prisoners, including an action at the International Wall in West Belfast on 24 April. They also emphasized the importance of escalating the boycott of Israel.
Watch all the Saoradh videos at their Facebook page.
Students for Justice in Palestine in Houston, Texas, organized a banner drop and sign display for Palestinian student prisoners, demanding justice and liberation for all prisoners, from Palestine to Turtle Island.
Online Events and Actions
On the social media front, Addameer organized a social media campaign on April 17 #AgainstMilitaryCourts, calling for people around the world to post selfies and protest photos highlighting the resistance to injustice in occupied Palestine.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations held online events, actions and social media campaign to highlight the struggle of Palestinian prisoners. The AMED Studies Department at San Francisco State University — subjected to corporate censorship by Facebook — organized #FreeThemAll in collaboration with many groups and organizations, featuring former Palestinian prisoners like Mays Abu Ghosh, Mohammed Kamil and Yacoub Odeh, advocates like Sahar Francis and Ayed Abu Eqtaish, as well as Hank Jones, former US political prisoner and Black Panther. The event was moderated by Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Diana Block.
Watch the event video:
In addition to the actions in Paris and elsewhere, the Unitary Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah gathered a number of videos and statements for Palestinian Prisoners’ Week of Action, releasing them throughout the week of action on the Campaign’s YouTube channel. These videos included texts from Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, former Lebanese political prisoner Anwar Yassin, former Palestinian prisoner Myassar Atyani, current Palestinian prisoner Kamil Abu Hanish, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and the Collectif Palestine Vaincra.
On Friday, 16 April, Samidoun Palestine kicked off the Week of Action with an online webinar in Arabic, featuring former Palestinian prisoners Ghassan Zawahreh, Heba al-Labadi, Dr. Widad al-Barghouthi, Dareen Tatour and Rula Abu Duhou:
On Tuesday, 20 April, Samidoun’s international coordinator Charlotte Kates joined Kumi Now for the Sabeel-led organization’s weekly seminar, this time focusing on administrative detention:
On 17 April, Dunya Productions organized an online program: Loved Ones, linking the effects of imprisonment and colonialism from Seattle to Palestine, while AFPS 59/62 held an event (in French, video at the link), highlighting Said Bouamama’s new book, L’Affaire Georges Abdallah.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes all of the organizations and activists supporting Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for liberation and the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. We know that this list of actions is necessarily incomplete, as people around the world continue to come together to organize for Palestine. We urge all to join us on 15-22 May to escalate our protests and organizing, confronting Zionism, imperialism, reactionary forces and marching for return and liberation for Palestine, from the river to the sea.