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Florida students show solidarity with Rasmea Odeh

By Farah Khan

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Gainesville, FL – On Nov. 10 the University of Florida’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a corner sign-holding protest in support of Rasmea Odeh. Odeh is a 67-year-old Palestinian woman activist from Chicago who is now being held in a Detroit jail. The U.S. government is targeting her because she is a powerful leader who speaks out against U.S. complicity in Israeli war crimes.

Two dozen students showed up at a busy campus intersection during rush hour to publicly declare they stand with Rasmea Odeh against the unfair justice system. The action took place just hours after Odeh was found guilty of “unlawful procurement of citizenship” in a Detroit courtroom. Adding insult to injury, Odeh had her bond revoked and was led away in handcuffs just hours after the verdict was read. The news hit students at the University of Florida very hard. However, like other anti-war and international solidarity activists across the country organizing for Rasmea Odeh for months, they sprang into action.

Florida students showed their shock and anger thru their action. People stayed at the protest for almost two hours chanting, giving speeches and demanding that justice for this prominent community organizer, Rasmea Odeh. Jonathan Waring of UF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) said, “We have to show the U.S. government that activists will not be intimidated by illegitimate trials directed at the pro-Palestine movement.”

UF students are not intimidated by the U.S. government campaign of repression. If anything this verdict has amped up the sentiment for more education and actions to show solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and the Palestinian struggle that she embodies. This campus protest comes after a months-long campaign involving education, protests and call-in days. The issue is far from dying down and Florida students are ready to show support. Students for Justice in Palestine will continue to organize in solidarity with Rasmea until she is free, until all political prisoners are free and until Palestine is free.

As Eric Brown, a lead organizer with both SJP and SDS stated, “One day the settler colonial entity know as Israel will be found guilty by the people it has oppressed since its existence. On that day we will have people like Rasmea to look up to as those who have been pillars in the movement. This system has not only failed Rasmea but on every level has failed oppressed nationalities and there needs to be a serious movement for liberation that creates a completely new paradigm. Power to Rasmea and to all those facing political oppression!”

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