Tuesday, October 23, 2018

#BornAPrisoner, Palestinian Prisonersí Day marked by marches and hashtag


By Annelies Verbeek - April 18, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [prisoners] [protests] [Israeli Justice System]

Approximately 100 Palestinians gathered in Balou’ near Ramallah on Tuesday April 17 to mark Prisoners Day. Family members of prisoners, Palestinian prisoner support organisations, and officials marched together towards Beit El settlement.

“We are here with the families of Palestinian prisoners who were detained by Israel illegally,” Dr Mustafa Barghouti, the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative told Palestine Monitor. “We have 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, 350 of them children, and 60 women. Among the prisoners are democratically elected members of parliament. 300 prisoners are held in administrative detention without charge or trial. This is unacceptable. We demand the end of oppressive measures against them, and want their immediate release.”
 
Participants march from Balou' to Beit El chanting slogans to support the prisoners.
 
The marchers chanted slogans of freedom and justice while they moved towards Beit El settlement. A few protesters reached the barbed wire the Israelis installed to close off the settlement area from Palestinians. They were planting Palestinian flags when an army jeep appeared. Soldiers watched down the youth for half an hour before shooting tear gas. One protester was hit in the neck with a tear gas canister and was in need of immediate medical care.
 
Protester received medical care after being hit by a tear gas canister in the neck.
 
Mothers held posters of their imprisoned sons. “Everybody with a conscience should demand the release of our sons,” Intisar whose son was sentenced to life, told Palestine Monitor. “I recently received a permit to visit my son, but they did not allow me to see him for four years.”
 
While many attendants expressed a sense of struggle and need to demand their rights, some participants also articulated feelings of defeat and desperation. Mehra Barghouti, sister of prisoner Tareq Barghouti said “we talk and talk and talk. We demand our rights from the world and the Israelis, but nothing happens. This is a daily talk. We ask everyone to free the prisoners, we ask God, but it is still very difficult for us.”
 
Protester waves Palestinian flag, facing down Israeli soldiers who arrived at the scene quickly after marchers reached the border to the illegal settlement.
 
Meanwhile, Prisoners Day became evident on social media through hashtag #BornAPrisoner.
 
Yousef Dawoud, Advocacy Coordinator for Addameer told Palestine Monitor: “The Israeli prison system in the occupied Territories is an overarching system of control. If you do not go to prison, you can be sure somebody from your family will.”
 
Addameer launched #bornaprisoner based on the idea that for Palestinians, incarceration is inevitable. “Either directly, or through the overall system of control through which your loved ones are incarcerated. It is almost as if the occupation tells Palestinians: it is your fate to be incarcerated, as it is your fate to be an occupied people,” Dawoud said.
 
Manal Tamimi, mother of prisoners Osama and Mohammad, echoed the idea at the Prisoners March. “90% of the Palestinian population has loved ones in prison. We are here to stand in solidarity with them. To show the prisoners that we will not forget them. They can imprison our bodies but not our minds and our idea of freedom,” Tamimi told Palestine Monitor.
 
Lead photo: Women hold pictures of their imprisoned sons as Palestinians gather to march for the occasion of prisoners day.

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