(By:Palestinian Prisoners Campaign Group) – Londoners protested outside the Israeli Embassy on Saturday 1st September 2012 demanding freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners as the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported that the clinic at Ramla Prison is withholding needed medication from Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawna, on hunger strike for 63 days, until he agrees to end his hunger strike.
Around two dozen activists picketed the entrance to the private road which houses the Israeli Embassy in Kensington High Street. Their banner read “Free All Palestinian Political Prisoners” and they had placards around their necks dedicated to the remaining three hunger strikers – Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi, and Ayman Sharawna who are in critical condition, demanding their immediate freedom.
All three have been imprisoned under Israel’s infamous ‘administrative detention’ which means they have not been charged with anything and there is no trial and yet they have been locked up indefinitely on a rolling 6 month prison sentence.
Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq are both on renewed hunger strikes after Israel broke its deal to release them. They had previously already been on hunger strike for 71 and 30 days. Now Sameer has been on a renewed hunger strike from May 22 – a total of 133 days, and Hassan a total of 144 days.
Both men are in critical condition, barely able to stand and use wheelchairs for their daily needs. Amnesty has reported that even at the Medical Centre of the Israel Prison Service Samer and Hassan are being repeatedly beaten and abused.
Palestinian flags calling for a boycott of Israel were also unfurled during the protest, the boycott being a practical method everyone can use to exert pressure on Israel. Hundreds of leaflets were given out to a very sympathetic public. Some approached us asking if they could take a boycott Israel flag to hang at home.
As with the last protest outside the Israeli Embassy the police took keen interest. At different stages we were approached by three different police teams and private security in charge of the Kensington Palace Gardens for the Crowne Estate which owns the road the Embassy is on. The private security wanted us some distance on the other side of the road away from the Embassy which we refused on principle. The police having a better understanding of the law allowed us to stay at the mouth of the private road in sight of the embassy.
Later armed police from outside the embassy approached us to ask questions, despite their big guns and side arms they were polite. Near the end of the protest another officer turned up to ask the same questions. With Israels atrocious record of illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, massacring civilians and murdering Palestinian children none of the police teams were surprised by the protest but were just there to ask routine questions.
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