AL-KHALI, (PIC)– The southern West Bank city of Al-Khalil is witnessing popular events supporting the hunger striking political prisoners in PA jails, while a number of detainees’ families vowed to escalate its steps demanding freedom for their detained sons and relatives.
Six political prisoners affiliated with the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas have launched an open hunger strike to demand their release from the jails of PA security apparatus.
The hunger strikers included five from al-Khalil governorate who began their strike in the general intelligence prisons on Wednesday June 20, 2012 and two others who started striking on Friday June, 22, 2012.
It is noted that PA prisons had witnessed cases of individual strikes before the six prisoners’ current strike, as the strike was launched by the political prisoner Abdullah Aker in Junaid Prison in Nablus which had lasted 19 days and ended after the prisoner had received promises of being released.
The current hunger strikes in the security apparatuses’ prisons are considered the second wave of protests, taking place in the jails during the last five years, against the escalation of political arrests by the Authority security apparatus against members and supporters of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas in the West Bank.
After five days since the start of the strike of June 20, 2012, the popular movement in solidarity with the hunger striking political prisoners escalated, when dozens of citizens launched a solidarity rally in front of the house of political prisoner Othman Qawasmi in al-Khalil city on Sunday.
The demonstrators raised Palestinian flags and banners demanding the immediate release of the detainees, while chanting slogans demanding an end to the political arrests and the application of the terms of the national reconciliation
They also revealed that they were escalating their protest steps after exhausting every legal means and activities including marches, sit-ins and contacting the officials, the media agencies, and the local and international human rights organizations, to get the political prisoners released.
The family of detainee Othman Qawasmi had set up a protest tent in front of his home in al-Khalil since his second day of the open hunger strike. Then, the tent became a symbol of protest and a direction of supporters of freedom and the opponents of political detention in the city.
Furthermore, many youths in the city who wanted to express their solidarity with hunger striking political prisoners in PA jails, started campaigns aiming at raising awareness about the prisoners’ suffering amongst the youths.
Palestinian MPs as Fathi Qaraawi and Bassem Za’arir also expressed their solidarity with the striking political prisoners calling in a press statement on the PA security apparatus to immediately release the detainees and close the file of political arrests forever.
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