#DignityStrikeSA set to continue

2017-05-15 08:44
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Johannesburg - A 24-hour #DignityStrikeSA hunger strike is set to continue on Monday in solidarity with 1500 Palestinian political prisoners who embarked on their own hunger strike on April 17, for better prison conditions and basic rights in Israeli jails.

The strike will be accompanied by pickets at provincial legislatures nationwide between noon and 14:00 where memoranda will be handed over to public representatives, culminating in a solidarity rally at Constitutional Hill at 18:00 on Monday evening.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation explained in a statement that May 15 was “symbolically selected for the #DignityStrikeSA campaign to mark the Nakba (Catastrophe) that saw Palestinians being forced to flee their homeland in 1948, and the establishment of Israeli occupation".

The international strike is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a prominent resistance leader in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

The prisoners have been surviving on salt water.

Their demands include more contact with relatives, better medical treatment, an end to solitary confinement, to detentions without trial, and to abuse by prison guards.

According to human rights statistics some 6 500 Palestinians, including 57 women prisoners and 300 children as young as 11, are currently being held in Israeli jails. More than 500 of those prisoners are being held under "administrative detention" - detention without trial.

Eighty-six-year-old anti-apartheid struggle veteran and Robben Islander, Laloo Chiba as well as other political and media figures were set to join the #DignityStrikeSA hunger strike, including Deputy President of South Africa and the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also a former chairperson of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Neeshan Balton, the Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said in a statement, “Ramaphosa’s commitment to the campaign sends a strong message that South Africa stands with the Palestinian people in their quest for freedom and dignity. His support is globally significant as he might possibly be the most senior politician endorsing the demands of the Palestinian prisoners.”

Participants will be allowed to drink a sugar and salt water solution twice during the 24-hour period.

“We must pledge our continued support for the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people, just as countless people across the world did for South Africans standing up against the brutal apartheid regime. I am convinced that those who support the Palestinian struggle will be willing to sacrifice their meals for 24 hours to boost the morale of our comrades in Palestine, who have been without food for almost a month,” said Chiba.

The solidarity action is supported by organisations including the National Coalition 4 Palestine, South African Jews for a Free Palestine, the Embassy of the State of Palestine, Ex Political Prisoners Association of South Africa, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, and religious organisations.

Read more on:    ahmed kathrada foundation

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