On Saturday, 23 October, over 1,000 people gathered to take the streets in Lannemezan, France, to demand the immediate release of Georges Abdallah, Lebanese Communist and Palestinian resistance fighter imprisoned in France since 1984. The march led from the Lannemezan train station to the gates of the prison where he is jailed. In the 11th annual march on Lannemezan, there was a historic influx and growth in participation following a month of mobilization and action by support committees in France and around the world.
Many delegations traveled to Lannemezan from Toulouse, Bordeaux, Pau, Auch, Tarbes, Albi, Nantes, Paris, Agen, Grenoble, Marseille, Martigues, Annecy, Montpellier and elsewhere in France, joined by activissts from Catalonia, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany. Many Palestinian groups, Palestine solidarity organizations and Georges Abdallah support committees were present (including Collectif Palestine Vaincra, Samidoun, Unitary Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah, Couserans-Palestine, UJFP, ISM-France, CAPJPO-EuroPalestine, BDS committees, sections of the AFPS, Collectif 65 for the liberation of Georges Abdallah, Free Georges 33, Jeunes 4 Palestine, and more), as well as left political organizations (PCF, FI, NPA, Révolution Permanente, UCL, Secours Rouge, PRCF, ANC, PCOF, LJR, JR, DIP, Popular Front of Turkey), trade unions (SUD and CGT sections), anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations (FUIQP, Les Filipin es Uni en France, anti-fascist groups from different cities), anti-prison and abolitionist activists such as l’Envolée and committees supporting other political prisoners (notably Musa Asoglu and activist Lola). The diversity of organizations supporting Georges Abdallah highlights the dynamic and multifaceted campaign that has grown year over year to build support for this imprisoned Lebanese Communist, the longest-held political prisoner in Europe.
It is clear that the tour and screening of the documentary, “Fedayin: Georges Abdallah’s Fight” contributed significantly to the development of the mobilization, with many delegations present that were formed following screenings of the film in their communities. In Toulouse, over 170 people attended the film screening and discussion, which convinced multiple people to join the march. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a screening, and please copy us at email@example.com so that we can help promote and share your event.
The Collectif Palestine Vaincra, a member organization of the international Samidoun Network, organized a contingent of the march around the slogan “Freedom for Georges Abdallah! Freedom for Palestine!” which brought together many participants. Samidoun Göteborg was present in the march as well as delegations from Secours Rouge International. Many Palestinian flags and flags of the Collectif were waved as well as placards supporting Palestinian resistance, calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners and demanding the boycott of Israel.
Two large red banners were displayed to demand the release of Georges Abdallah and Ahmad Sa’adat, general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, unjustly imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. Marchers chanted many slogans, such as “Down with imperialism and Zionism!” “Long live the Palestinian resistance!” “37 years in prison, a whole life in struggle: Freedom for Georges Abdallah!” as well as Arabic slogans calling for Georges Abdallah’s freedom and the liberation of Palestine.
The demonstration ended with a reading of a statement by Georges Abdallah written for the occasion. In a text reaffirming his revolutionary commitment remains intact after 37 years in prison, he underlines that “Every day, Palestine gives us all lessons of self-sacrifice and courage of exceptional significance. More than ever, the Palestinian popular masses, in spite of all the treachery of the bourgeoisie, assume the role of the true guarantor of the defense of the interests of the people. Faced with the occupation and the barbarism of the occupier, the first legitimate response that must be displayed above all else is solidarity. All solidarity with those who by their blood confront the soldiers of the occupation. The conditions of detention in Zionist jails are getting worse every day; and as you know, Comrades, to confront it, international solidarity is proving to be an indispensable weapon. Quite naturally, the Palestinian popular masses and their revolutionary vanguards can always count on your mobilization and your active solidarity. May a thousand solidarity initiatives flourish in support of Palestine and its promising resistance!”
Then, a joint declaration by many support committees (including the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and Samidoun Network) was read and then the various organizations take the floor. The music group, Grup Yorum, also played several pieces in support of the peoples’ struggles against imperialism.
Presidential candidates Philippe Poutou and Anasse Kazib affirmed their support for the immediate release of Ahmad Sa’adat, general secretary of the PFLP, imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.
The month of mobilization for the release of Georges Abdallah is coming to an end as a strong success. The Collectif Palestine Vaincra led an information and mobilization campaign in Toulouse in support of Georges Abdallah by organizing numerous Palestine Stands in the city, distributing 15,000 flyers, 900 posters and more than 5000 stickers while issuing a joint statement with many other groups to bring a large number of Toulouse residents to the Lannemezan march. The encouraging results invite all to redouble efforts to continue and intensify the campaign for his release so that Georges Abdallah can finally return to his homeland, Lebanon.
The Collectif Palestine Vaincra organizes actions and initiatives in Toulouse to support the Palestinian people and their resistance for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. Contact the Collectif to get involved, or reach out to Samidoun Network to get involved in your local area outside of France.
More than ever, Palestine will win!