On Wednesday, 20 April, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of midtown Manhattan in response to a call for an emergency demonstration to stand with Palestine and support the Palestinian liberation struggle, following attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian cities and villages throughout occupied Palestine.
The demonstration was organized by Within Our Lifetime – United For Palestine, Samidoun NY/NJ, Palestinian Youth Movement, Existence is Resistance and Decolonize this Place. Representatives of many organizations joined the lively and youthful protest, as did members of the Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish group.
Called under the slogan, “Support Palestinian Resistance and Liberation By Any Means Necessary,” the rally gathered outside the Zionist consulate in New York and included speakers from all of the participating organizations expressing their full support for the Palestinian people’s struggle to liberate their land from the river to the sea.
The rally was chaired by Nerdeen Kiswani, chair of Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine, and Laila Boutros, coordinator of Samidoun NY/NJ. Speakers mobilized the crowd with strong calls to action, denouncing the crimes of the Zionist state and supporting the Palestinian people and their resistance.
The demonstration was also called as part of the Days of Action for Palestinian Prisoners, 10 days of action in commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, calling for the freedom of all over 4,450 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons and saluting their leadership in the liberation movement.
The rally was followed by a spirited march through midtown Manhattan led by banners with slogans like “Globalize the Intifada,” “Honor the Martyrs of Palestine,” and “We Will Free Palestine Within Our Lifetime.” In a powerful moment, one Palestinian youth and a member of the Neturei Karta together trampled on the flag of the Israeli state, a symbol of oppression, racism and injustice.
As the march proceeded through the streets with the sound of drums, waving Palestinian flags and chants in support of resistance and liberation, participants received widespread support from passers-by on the streets who expressed their solidarity with Palestine and disgust with the ongoing U.S. military aid and support for the ongoing Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.
Organizers in New York are preparing for additional upcoming actions in support of Palestine, including a demonstration announced for 15 May in commemoration of the Nakba and ongoing Palestinian struggle and revolution.
Michelle Munjanattu addressed the rally on behalf of Samidoun NY/NJ, delivering a powerful message highlighting the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners. She also expressed solidarity with the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, fighting back against a ban by the French government:
Good Evening! My name is Michelle, and I’m a union member and part of Samidoun NY/NJ, which is part of Samidoun International, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Today marks the midpoint of 10 Days of Struggle for Palestinian Prisoner’s Liberation. Palestinian prisoners represent the Palestinian resistance- and our solidarity and support are key to upholding their leadership in the liberation struggle. These are also days of action to defend our sister organization, Collectif Palestine Vaincra, which has with other pro-Palestine, antifascist and social justice organizations, been targeted by the French government for administrative dissolution– banning under the threat of imprisonment or fines for organizing for Palestine. In addition to their campaigns for the boycott of Israel, their advocacy for Palestinian prisoners and for the liberation of Lebanese struggler for Palestine, Georges Abdallah, has been specifically targetted for repression.
In this third week of the holy Month of Ramadan, we also observed Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on April 17th, which comes as over 530 Palestinians are jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention and who have undertaken since 1 January 2022 a collective boycott of the Israeli military courts.
Today, we recognize the Palestinian Resistance inside and outside the prison walls, which is fighting for the liberation of Palestine and defending the people of Palestine and the world, from the forces of Zionism, imperialism, and reaction. We salute this new generation of Palestinians who are joining in a long line of struggle alongside the Palestinian Resistance to announce Oslo a dead letter and fight for the liberation of every inch of Palestine, from Nablus and Hebron, to Haifa, Gaza, and Jerusalem.
It is the Palestinian Resistance, including all of the prisoners in Zionist jail cells, who are paying close attention to events within Palestine and within the region, and working to hasten the liberation of the land. We uplift their ongoing struggle, which is both an act of love and inspiration to make what is revolutionary ordinary within Palestine. One day, it will be ordinary for the Palestinian living in Jordan to be greeted with plates of Kabsa by their kin, for prisoners to visit the graves of their family members and eat the fruits of the land, and for worshippers to pray in Al-Aqsa without the threat of sound bombs, live bullets, and massive arrests.
Through constant sacrifice and tenacity, the Resistance has proven to all of us, but especially Palestinians within and without the homeland, that liberation is a real possibility, and more imminent than imagined. Today and throughout these days of struggle, we stand with the resistance that built a Freedom Tunnel to liberation, that defends Jenin camp from invasion, and resists colonization in al-Naqab and fights for freedom in Gaza.