At the call of Collectif 65 for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah, over 100 demonstrators gathered outside the gates of the Lannemezan prison in France to demand the release of the longest-held political prisoner in Europe. This initiative was organized as part of an international day of mobilization for the release of the imprisoned Lebanese communist. The day came on 2 April as he celebrated his 71st birthday behind the walls of a French prison after being eligible for release for more than 22 years.
Despite the cold and the snowy weather, many supporters of Georges Abdallah made the trip from Bordeaux, Tarbes, Lannemezan, Pau, Toulouse, Auch and Montauban to reaffirm the importance of Abdallah’s case. Georges Abdallah, a Lebanese communist and struggler for the liberation of Palestine, has been imprisoned in France since 1984. The presence of activists from multiple organizations (Solidaires, CGT, ANC, PCF, FI, UCL, NPA, Permanent Revolution, PRCF, AFPS, Yellow Vests, etc.) underlined that solidarity with Georges Abdallah concerns all of the progressive forces who understand that the fight for his liberation is, first of all, a struggle against French imperialism and its criminal complicity with Israeli apartheid.
Following the publication of an important press release by the major labor federation in France, the CGT, calling for the release of Georges Abdallah, various trade union sectors and representatives of the CGT were present at the rally, carrying a large banner to affirm the union federation’s solidarity with Abdallah. The secretary general of the local CGT federation of Lannemezan area spoke at the demonstration alongside the secretary general of the UD CGT 31 to underline their commitment to support of Georges Abdallah as a part of upholding the internationalist values of their labor union.
For his part, the president of the ANC (National Association of Communists), Charles Hoareaur stated: “In addition to Georges Abdallah, we also stand with the Corsican political prisoners, and until his death for Yvan Colonna, and the Basque prisoners, who are refused the application of common law and which have been placed under an exceptional regime unworthy of a democracy”.
Many organizations denounced the criminalization of the Palestine solidarity movement by the French government and the recent dissolution and banning of several organizations, including the Collectif Palestine Vaincra. A former Collectif Palestine Vaincra activist emphasized the importance of linking the mobilization against the dissolutions to the fight for the release of Abdallah, the longest-held political prisoner in Europe, as both actions reflect one and the same policy of repression by the French government.
The rally concluded with music: various songs of resistance played as participants took a photo in solidarity with Salah Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender jailed without charge or trial in Israeli administrative detention. Supporting Georges Abdallah is part and parcel of supporting the release of all the Palestinian prisoners, unjustly imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.