[PRESS RELEASE] Demonstration at the Israeli Embassy, More Action to Come
Tonight activists from a variety of groups, including people involved in the Palestine Place project at 24 Grays Inn Road (a social centre set up in solidarity with the Palestian people) held a successful demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in support of Palestian hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak, who has been on hunger strike for 85 days now in response to his “administrative detention” which has meant three years in an Israeli Jail without any charges being laid against him.
Mahmoud Sarsak political prisoner from the Palestian football team, has been on hunger strike for 85 days, and is in a critical condition . Although an unknown Palestian Official has said that he has been taking milk in the last couple of days, he has not been able to speak to his lawyer or any member of his family and so this is by no means a confirmed fact. Many sources still report he “is close to death”. There has been international condemnation of Israel’s inprisonment of Sarsak and other Palestinain footballers, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter who “‘expressed grave concern’ regarding the incarceration of members of the Palestinian team in Israel, including Mahmoud Sarsak who is on hunger strike” .
Activists left Palestine Place yesterday [Tuesday 12th June] to assemble outside the Israeli embassy and held a candle lit vigil in solidarity with Mahmoud Sarsak. The demonstration began at around 22:00 hours and lasted for around an hour and a half with banners and speeches drawing attention to Mahmoud Sarsak’s detention and hunger strike and calling for him to be freed. The Palestine Place website and twitter feeds have confirmed  that demonstrations will be continuing throughout the week focussed on the immediate demand for the release of Mahmoud Sarsak.
The presence of around forty activists outside the embassy prompted the response of a small unit of armed police (carrying machine guns) who assaulted individuals standing around on the premise that they were “trespassing”. Alex Gray who was at the demonstration said “We are here today because it is important at this critical moment to stand in solidarity with Mahmoud, and to show our anger at Israels so called ‘administrative detention’ policy. These demonstrations will continue to grow until Mahmoud is set free.” After the candle lit vigil, and a two minute silence, demonstrators played football outside the royal park which borders the embassy and handed out leaflets to passsers by to inform them of Mahmoud’s desperate situation.
2- Electronic Intifada http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/time-running-out-hunger-striking-footballer-rights-groups-demand-urgent-pressure & The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/06/palestinian-hunger-strike-fears-life?newsfeed=true