Boycott Israel! Free Bilal Kayed! Free all political prisoners!

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On Saturday 23 July 2016, on London’s Oxford Street - Europe’s busiest shopping area - protestors held a loud and colourful demonstration demanding the release of Bilal Kayed, a Palestinian political prisoner who is now in the second month of a hunger strike.

The protest was organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and took place outside the flagship store of Marks and Spencer, Britain’s biggest corporate supporter of Israel. The RCG has organised pickets outside Marks and Spencer for more than 14 years because of the company’s historical links with the zionist movement, and its continuing economic ties with Israel. The 23 July picket was dedicated to the cause of Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners.

Free Bilal Kayed

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On 13 June 2016 Bilal Kayed completed a 14.5 year sentence in Israeli jails and was immediately given a further six-month sentence of ‘administrative detention’, meaning arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial.

Kayed was an organiser of the 2012 Karameh hunger strike, in which thousands of Palestinian prisoners refused food for nearly one month, in protest against solitary confinement and denial of family visits. His continued imprisonment is punishment for his political leadership and solidarity. Now in his second month of another hunger strike, Bilal is demanding his freedom from administrative detention.

The RCG was one of 150 organisations around the world that responded to the call for protests to demand freedom for Bilal and for all Palestinian political prisoners.

A small group of zionists, keen to silence any criticism of Israel or its human rights abuses, attended the picket with Israeli flags and shouted abuse at the protesters, at one point attacking someone speaking on the sound system. In any case, the overwhelming support of passers by was for the anti-racist message of the Palestine protest and the zionists only served to show how isolated Israel has become - precisely because of its war crimes against the Palestinians.

To find out more about Bilal Kayed and the international campaign for political prisoners, visit the Samidoun website.

To find out more about the RCG and protests against the occupation of Palestine here in Britain, contact your nearest RCG branch today!