5 February 2011
More than two thousand people rallied today in the center of Ramallah at Al-Manara Square in solidarity with the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, calling for freedom, social justice, democracy, and human rights. Parallel rallies took place in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Previous rallies have been held by Palestinian activists in Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza, among other locations.
The demonstrations were called by independent youth movements, the Palestinian NGO Network, trade unions, and professional syndicates. Al-Manara Square overflowed with a diverse crowd of students, workers, professionals, human rights activists, and political parties’ representatives, with a prominent presence of women. Protesters carried Egyptian, Tunisian, and Palestinian flags and repeated the Egyptian chants of “The People Want to Dismantle the Regime” and “Down with Mubarak.” They also demanded an end to the occupation, internal division, normalization, oppressive regimes, and US and Western complicity in maintaining Israel’s colonial system and protecting despotic Arab regimes.
One of the protesters, Omar Assaf, said that “We, the Palestinian people, send a message to the Arab world to stand together for a better life against the corruption of the authorities. . . . We support the Egyptian people but the Egyptians must elect their leaders, just as the Tunisian people must elect their leaders, and we Palestinians must elect our leaders.”
This was Ramallah’s fourth and largest rally in solidarity with the peoples of Egypt and Tunisia. The previous three, organized by youth groups, were violently suppressed by Palestinian Authority agents, funded primarily by the US and the EU. The PA also sent in plainclothes officers into today’s crowd who chanted pro-Abbas slogans and assaulted several of the protesters.
The organizers stressed that they will continue mobilizing in support of human rights, against the Israeli occupation and status quo, and in solidarity with struggles around the world, especially in Arab countries, for freedom, democracy, and social justice. The next upcoming event is a call by the Popular Committees in Palestine to demonstrate in front of Israeli embassies worldwide on Friday, February 11th, against injustice and dictatorship and in solidarity with persecuted nations under the slogan “People Can Bring Change and Make the Impossible Possible.”
For more information, contact: Hanadi Omar, 972 59 543 6027; or Mazin Qumsiyeh, 972 59 893 9532.
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