New York, New York – A group of activists gathered in front of the French Consulate on Oct. 21, to stand in solidarity with Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese Arab freedom fighter for Palestine, and demand his immediate release.
The picket was part of the International Week of Action (Oct. 15-22) in support of Abdallah and it was the second event that the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network hosted to bring attention to Abadallah’s case.
The French government imprisoned Georges Ibrahim Abdallah over 32 years ago. His crime was participating in actions that decried Israel’s invasion and, consequent occupation, of Lebanon and targeted U.S. and Israeli interests. The French courts subjected Abdallah to sham trial where foreign powers became involved. One of his lawyers was used to spy on him. Originally, he was up for release in 1999. However, each time he set to be released under parole to Lebanon, forces beyond him stop the process. It’s happened multiple times where the French judiciary will approve the release but higher legal powers intervene to halt the process, such as the Interior Minister or the U.S. government under the guise of Hillary Clinton.
Throughout his imprisonment in Lannemezan prison, Abdallah has remained a staunch anti-Zionist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist voice in the Arab and Palestinian movement. He has organized hunger strikes within the prison to stand with Palestinian hunger strikers, such as Bilal Kayed. He has openly supported the BDS movement and other pro-Arab liberation movements throughout the world.
Abdallah’s imprisonment is recognized as part of the larger struggle for justice of Palestinian and Arab political prisoners, activists and for liberation. France’s targeting of Palestinian, Arab and anti-Zionist activists speaks to the country’s long history of xenophobic and chauvinist actions.
The New York protesters stood in front of the consulate chanting, “Free, free Georges Abdallah” as a steady stream of French diplomats and important figures walked through the doors. The protesters stayed past sundown and handed out flyers to those walking by. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, six NYPD officers and three cop cars flanked the demonstration.
On Oct. 22, a large mobilization at the Lannemezan prison took place to end the solidarity week of action for Abdallah.
The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network holds protests every Friday afternoon to stand in solidarity with political prisoners who are fighting for justice.