Saturday, February 27, 2021

Palestinian rally in Ramallah for ‘Freedom and Dignity’

By Nadia Sa‘ad - May 04, 2017
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [prisoners] [Hunger Strike] [protests]

May 3 marked the seventeenth day of the hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners in Israel. More than a thousand people from Ramallah and surrounding villages gathered for a peaceful rally in Nelson Mandela Square, in the Al-Tireh neighborhood of Ramallah. They gathered showing solidarity with the prisoners fighting for freedom and dignity.

The protest began with groups of young Palestinian scouts marching to Nelson Mandela Square, followed by crowds of supporters waving flags, banners and posters of Palestinians currently detained in Israeli Prisons. The scouts marched and played their instruments joining the hundreds already gathered in Mandela Square.

In attendance were representatives from a number of political parties, which were represented by the party’s flag carried by their supporters.

In solidarity with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, as well as those currently detained, mothers, fathers, family members and friends raised banners and posters of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Various attendees carried photos of their loved ones. A Palestinian man carried a photo of his brother, who was arrested at 24 years old. He has been serving a life sentence plus forty years since 2002. When asked why he was detained, his brother, who wants to be identified as Saad, responded, “it’s not important.” What is important, he believes, is “to show solidarity in any way we can”.

Throughout the protest a series of speakers came to the platform in front on the Mandela statue, speaking about this action for freedom and dignity as the final form of resistance. Along with the speakers, popular Palestinian singer and winner of Arab Idol 2014, Mohammed Assaf, sang “Dammi Falastini”, meaning “my blood is palestinian”, a popular song of Palestinian resistance. Assaf was joined by the crowd singing and waving their flags.

Many of those in attendance wore shirts which read “freedom and dignity,” a name that comes from an op-ed piece jailed Palestinian leader on hunger strike Marwan Barghouti published in the New York Times on April 16, and which read: “This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom…Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace”.


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