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Dallas pro-Palestine protesters block Joe Biden

By Josh Rudd

Police arrest pro-Palestine protestors during visit by President Biden. | Fight Back! News/staff

Dallas, TX – On Monday, January 9, hundreds of pro-Palestine community members gathered for a rally at Dallas Love Field Airport to protest the arrival of President Joe Biden in Texas.

The rally was held outside of the entrance to the airport where Joe Biden was landing, with banners and signs denouncing the president’s support for the ongoing U.S.-backed Israeli genocide and occupation of Gaza. Attendees chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Biden was visiting Dallas to attend the funeral of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who had voiced support for Palestinians facing occupation and apartheid during her career.

Shortly after Biden landed in Dallas, the protesters stood in front of the Cedar Springs entrance to the airport calling for a ceasefire, blocking all traffic into and around the airport for over 20 minutes. During this time, the demonstrators continued chanting and some people left their cars to start chanting “Ceasefire now” along with the crowd.

Eventually, the police cleared out the cars and began roughly arresting community members at the protest, 13 individuals in all. The large crowd surrounded the police cars chanting “Shame, shame, shame” and “Dallas PD, KKK, IDF they’re all the same.”

After the arrests, the rally turned into a march around the airport, demanding the release of all arrested protesters. The march continued to block traffic around the airport and eventually forced the police cars to stop and wait before taking the protesters to the Lew Sterrett Jail in downtown Dallas.

Lanay Hyatte, who was arrested at the demonstration, remarked during the wait a Palestinian women who was arrested was in pain from overly tight zip-tie handcuffs cutting off circulation in her wrists and it took the police “about 20 minutes to find a pair of scissors to cut them off.”

Hyatte also spoke about how the women who were arrested who wear headscarves were all forced to remove them in front of male guards and for their public mugshots, remarking “that triggered me and made me feel violated.” She mentioned that another woman who was arrested told her that a male officer “touched her back multiple times and had touched her hand in a way that felt inappropriate,” also noting that they were all forced to remove their clothes in front of officers.

Additionally, all of the community members were marked as “white” in the court system, despite Lanay Hyatte being a Black woman and many of the others being Arab, which made it more difficult to obtain information on their booking through the county jail website.

Dozens of showed up at the entrance of the jail to demand the quick release of the 13 arrested demonstrators. Many people stayed the night in the atrium of the jail, playing music and calling the court to demand a speedy release. All 13 were released the following morning without bail and were greeted by the cheers and embrace of the crowd. As police nervously ushered the crowd out the door, cheers of “Free free Palestine!” filled the jail lobby.

Hyatte remarked “As somebody who has always been on the other side advocating for people who have been incarcerated in the jail system, seeing it on the inside is really a testament to how resources are being wasted on a system that clearly has failed and is doing a disservice to the community when those resources could be used elsewhere to prevent houselessness and to create economic mobility.”

Hyatte concluded by saying “The reason why I had chosen to be a part of the protest yesterday is because I understand the interconnectedness of Black liberation with Palestinian liberation. As a biracial Black woman, Palestinian people have always stood for Black lives and I feel it is my duty to show solidarity as an ally to also show solidarity with Palestinian people in ending the occupation and calling for an immediate ceasefire and for lifting the siege.”

After their release from the Lew Sterrett jail , Jo Hargis of the Dallas Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization said, “Joe Biden and the government of the United States provide Israel the political support, bombs, technology and money that make the genocide in Palestine possible. Joe Biden has the blood of over 22,000 Palestinians on his hands. While there is no justice in Palestine, Joe Biden should have no peace.”

Fari Cinna, another of the arrestees, remarked “Even in a cell, we were guaranteed some degree of safety, something that Palestinian prisoners do not have the luxury of. Being held for hours is nothing compared to the years of administrative detention suffered by Palestinians under the Zionist occupation. Our action was designed to amplify the voice of Palestinian resistance, and we hope to have accomplished that goal.”

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