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Atlanta commemorates Nakba Day, demands end to GILEE police program

By David Jones

Nakba Day protest in Atlanta, Georgia.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Atlanta, GA – On May 18, a Nakba Day protest took place outside of the CNN headquarters, as part of the global commemoration of the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.

The rally highlighted the growing struggle for Palestinian liberation and programs like the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) that must be defeated for the collective liberation of Palestinians and Black folks in the South.

Layla Amar, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement in Atlanta, said, “We gathered in Atlanta to commemorate the Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic. Nakba day is a remembrance of May 15, 1948 where the Zionist entity murdered 15,000 and exiled 750,000 Palestinians. Too often when the world talks about Palestine, we center Palestinian victimhood, but I want to ensure that this Nakba day we also remember the resilience of the Palestinian people as they have played an imperative role in globalizing the Intifada.”

Speakers from the University of Georgia spoke out on the movement’s erecting encampments on campuses across the country demanding that schools disclose their ties to the Israeli occupation and divest from those ties. Community groups’ speakers highlighted the need for solidarity with the Palestinian people from the Philippines to the Black Belt South.

Laith Abdel Hader, an organizer with the Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, stated “The tide of the Palestinian liberation movement is rising and the struggle is escalating. As this tide is rising, all liberation struggles are rising with it, especially the Black liberation struggle here in the U.S. Folks here and abroad are seeing how these struggles are connected, fighting them here at home like we are with the GILEE program.”

The GILEE program, housed at Georgia State University, allows for IOF soldiers and Georgia police officers to train one another, sharing tactics and methods to repress communities and their movements. GILEE participants include C.J. Davis, the current police chief in Memphis and former supervisor of the Red Dog unit in Atlanta, which notoriously has brutalized and maimed dozens of Black folks. The same Red Dog unit that murdered 26 year old Jamarion Robinson – shooting him 76 times “on suspicion” in 2016. Ending the GILEE program is tied directly with the fight against police crimes in the city.

The Nakba protest was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, Athens Against Apartheid, Georgia Students for Divestment, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Black Alliance for Peace, Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and ATL Radical Art.

Amar stated, “Palestine represents the worldwide oppression created by this imperial system, which means it is essential that the people in Atlanta, and all of us in the heart of the empire, play an active role in the fight for liberation.”

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