Saturday, January 16, 2021

Damascus Gate hosts demonstration for hunger strikers

By John Space - March 12, 2013
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Samer Issawi ] [Hunger Strike] [protests] [prisoners] [Damascus Gate]

Photo by John Space.

Around 70 people gathered in front of the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's old city on Tuesday evening to show their support for the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails, including long-term hunger striker Samer Issawi.

Demonstrators chanted in support of the hunger strikers for about an hour before attempting to march east to Sultan Suleiman Road. The march lasted less than a block before it was dispersed by over a dozen Israeli riot police, including two mounted officers who charged horses through the crowd, scattering the demonstrators.

Protester Muath Khatib said he joined the demonstration "so the authorities can hear something about what the people want: the freedom of our prisoners and an end to the hunger strike."

Another demonstrator, who declined to give his name for fear of repercussion from Israeli police, said the protesters are calling for an end to Samer Issawi's unjust imprisonment.

"He's a good man," the demonstrator said. "The Israeli army arrested him at a checkpoint and called him a terrorist, which he's not."

Issawi was freed from Israeli prison in October 2011 during the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, but was rearrested in Hizma less than a year later and remains in jail today. Israel accuses him of violating the terms of his release by leaving the Jerusalem municipality, despite the fact that Hizma is within the bounds of the municipality. He was hospitalized in late February after spending a total of more than 210 days on hunger strike, but despite his deteriorating health, he recently wrote an op-ed from prison for the Guardian newspaper explaining why his hunger strike will continue. 

A total of eight prisoners, including Issawi, are currently on hunger strike in protest of Israel's inhuman treatment of Palestinian prisoners and administrative detention. Hunger strikers Jafar Ezzedine and Tareq Qadan were also recently hospitalized due to health concerns. 

The demonstration in front of the Damascus Gate shows that although the hunger strikers are imprisoned they are not forgotten, and the Palestinian people will remain steadfast in their support of the hunger strikers and all people unjustly imprisoned by Israel.

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