Solidarity with Palestine and the prisoners of imperialism - 20 April 2012

As the crisis of imperialism deepens, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only solution the ruling class the world over can the offer is further violence and repression. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Glasgow has in recent weeks been taking to the streets to defend the right to protest and to express active solidarity with anti-imperialist prisoners struggling from within the darkest recesses of the torture apparatus.

Over a hundred people took to the streets of Glasgow to march in solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners who, on Palestinian Prisoners Day, 17 April, escalated the revolutionary struggle of their people from within the jails of Israel itself. The heroic examples of Khader Adnan and Hana al-Shalabi have inspired over 1200 more prisoners to launch open-ended hunger strikes to demand justice and liberation. During the march, Strathclyde police officers launched a violent attack on the spirited but peaceful protest, arresting one activist. FRFI supporters alongside other groups and individuals stood together to successfully prevent further arrests. The Glasgow Defence Campaign has published a full report here, and clearly the lessons of the past year of harassment are beginning to be implemented in what was an inspiring show of resistance.

Earlier in the month, FRFI Glasgow had joined over 500 people who took to the streets to demand freedom for Hana al-Shalabi, marching on BBC HQ in Glasgow to expose the complicity of the media in allowing the Palestinian hunger-strikers to starve in silence. FRFI supporters have held successful pickets of M&S in Glasgow to oppose the leading role of British imperialism in propping up the Zionist regime and further actions are planned in the weeks ahead. The revolutionary determination of the intifada within the jails demands an escalation of solidarity activity on all fronts.

Elsewhere around the world, anti-imperialist prisoners have continued to defy the barbarity of the imperialist state apparatus. For over 4 months, Irish Republican POWs have been on full dirty protest in the hell-hole of Maghaberry gaol in the north of Ireland, demanding political status and an end to forced strip searching. On 31 March, FRFI Glasgow joined the John Brady Society and the 32-County Sovereignty Movement in a protest outside Celtic Park to highlight the appalling conditions the prisoners are subjected and to demand the freedom of Marian Price. The flags and banners of Ireland and Palestine flew proudly together during the demonstration.

The Cuban revolution remains a beacon in this anti-imperialist struggle and members of FRFI Glasgow recently took part in Rock Around the Blockade’s solidarity brigade to Cuba titled ‘Justice for the Cuban 5.’ Millions of Cubans, in the streets, factories, farms and schools, have demonstrated for the release of the five heroes; framed-up, imprisoned and isolated by US imperialism for exposing terrorist actions launched against their country with the full knowledge of successive US administrations. FRFI supporters will join this call, holding a street rally to demand freedom for the five on Saturday 21 April.

The very right to express such solidarity is itself under attack in Britain, as the state seeks to criminalise all forms of dissent and effective opposition. An FRFI supporter will return to court on 27 April to face framed-up charges of police assault relating to his targeted arrest on an anti-cuts protest in January 2010. A legal debate is set to take place on the day, constituting the first legal challenge to police kettling in Scotland. FRFI and the GDC will continue to organise protests and action in solidarity with all those criminalised for political activity.

The struggle to defend the Palestinian people and the prisoners of imperialism, and that to defend our right to express such solidarity, are one and the same. We must demand unity on this question above all.

Free the Cuban 5 – prisoners of US imperialism!

Street rally, Donald Dewar statue, Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Saturday 21 April, 1 – 3pm

Freedom for Palestine! Boycott Israeli goods!

Picket of M&S, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow city centre

Thursday 26 April, 4 – 6pm

Defend the right to protest!

Picket of Glasgow District Court, St. Andrews Street, Glasgow

Friday 27 April, 2pm onwards


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