Over 20 students from the ‘We Are All Hana Shalabi’ campaign in Scotland joined Palestinian activists today in a protest against the complicity of the British government in Israel’s apartheid regime. The demonstration was held specifically to highlight the cases of Palestinian hunger strikers Mahmoud Sarsak (84 days) , Akram Al-Rehwai (60 days) and Samer Al-Barq (23 days). Palestinian national footballer Sarsak and Rekhawi are in a ‘very severe’ condition according to Anat Litvin from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Israel and in danger of imminent death.
The protest began at the International Red Cross building in Sheikh Jarrah, before the activists marched to the nearby British Consulate, chanting for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners in Arabic and English. Among those protesting was Atallah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia from the Orthodox Patriachate of Jerusalem. The activists held banners reading “Free Sarsak, Free Palestine” and “Boycott G4S – Boycott Israel”, highlighting the role of British security company G4S in providing equipment to Israeli prisons and checkpoints.
Upon arriving at the Consulate, the protesters handed in a letter to the Consulate General Sir Vincent Fean which condemned the British governments historic and present complicity in the occupation of Palestine and called on them to make a statement demanding the immediate release of the hunger strikers. The activists also tied a British flag, which was covered in red paint and read ‘Blood on your Hands’ to the railings of the Consulate building. Israeli police and Border Police arrived at the building and took the the I.D’s of some of the Palestinians protesting at the consulate before later returning them.
The protest today comes amongst growing concern for the condition of Sarsak, whose life is in imminent danger as he enters his 86th day on hunger strike tomorrow. The protesters carried a strong message to the international community to take immediate action to save the life of Mahmoud Sarsak.
For more photos from the demonstration, go to: http://tinyurl.com/bm5mg8q