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Chicago protest demands city government drop ties with Petach Tikva - Israel’s Guantanamo

By Stephanie Weiner |
July 12, 2010
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 International Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Day of action in Chicago
International Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Day of action in Chicago, July 9th. (Fight Back! News/Chapin Gray)

Chicago, IL - Activists took part in the International Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Day of action by holding a demonstration at the offices of the Chicago Sister City Program, July 9 to demand that the Chicago drop ties with the Israeli city of Petach Tikva.

Protesters were outraged when they saw the closed wooden door on the fourth floor of the Chicago Cultural Center and realized that Leroy Allala the Executive Director had closed the entire Sister City office early to avoid dealing with our protest. The group left a list of demands and continued the protest outside .

The crowd grew to 50 people, with many Palestinian flags tucked in to the trees in front of the building. Students from the University of Chicago, Depaul, Wright College and also Northeastern held a very large center banner that read “No to Israel’s Guantanamo.” One activist who was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and had his hands handcuffed to educate the passersby about the torture that happens in the detention center in Petach Tikva said, “ I know that this campaign is part of freeing political prisoners tortured there like Ameer Makoul and I am determined to keep up the pressure.”

Last month, former police commander John Burge was convicted for the torture of hundreds of Chicagoans. Protesters made the connection that Israel’s Guantanamo, Petach Tikva, where Palestinian BDS leaders like Ameer Makhoul are tortured, must be closed down too. Maureen Murphy, in her closing speech, said, “This sister city relationship is a key link in helping Boeing, Caterpillar and United Airlines do business in the Israeli occupation.” She invited people to join in the call- in campaign on July 14 to the Sister City program office and for the next protest at the Sister City Festival in the end of August.