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New York rally and march demands ‘Justice for Rasmea’

By staff

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New York, NY – 45 activists and community organizers gathered at 19 W 44 th Street, the office of G4S Security Solutions, June 10, to stand in support for Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian American leader who is facing jail and deportation on a trumped-up immigration charge. G4S provides security services to Israeli prisons, where countless Palestinians prisoners have been held without due process, persecuted and tortured.

Michela Martinazzi, an organizer with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the New York for Palestine Coalition, started off with a series of chants like “Appeal, rehear, keep Rasmea out of Jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” and “From New York to Palestine, being Palestinian is not a crime!”

Suzanne Adely, from the New York for Palestine Coalition, spoke about how Rasmea Odeh was instrumental to the Arab and Muslim community in Chicago. “Rasmea wasn’t targeted for simply working in the community. She was targeted because she effectively organized her community.”

Jill Dowling, a local activist, spoke about the connection between Odeh and the general political repression of other organizers, “I have family and friends in the Midwest who woke up one morning with the FBI knocking on their door. They were targeted for being anti-war activists and nothing else. The same repression they faced, Rasmea is facing right now. We need to keep organizing and standing in solidarity with all activists and organizers.”

Before starting the march, Martinazzi read a statement from Odeh herself, “To my wonderful friends and colleagues in New York: I thank you all for coming out in support of my freedom, in support of justice, in support of Palestinian rights. Because make no mistake – this is not an immigration case or a case of lying on an application. It's a case, like so many others, of Palestinians coming under political and legal attack for who we are, because of our nationality, because we have struggled so long and hard for our national and human rights.”

The march went to the Army Recruiting Station in Times Square which was emblazoned with a large and bright America flag. Demonstrators chanted, “When freedom fighters are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

While marching, several Times Square impersonators joined in, specifically a Spiderman who said, “We need to keep organizing. We need to have more protests like this to stop racism and terrorism in the Middle East.”

The rally ended in high spirits with several rounds of chants led by Nerdeen Kiswani of NY Students for Justice in Palestine.

The rally and march were endorsed by: Al-Awda New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Muslims for Palestine, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression NYC, the International Action Center, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Labor for Palestine, New York City Students for Justice in Palestine, NY4Palestine, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, and the US Palestinian Community Network.

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