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Tucson protest demands “Free Rasmea now!”

By Jim Byrne |
November 19, 2014
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Arizona protest demands freedom for Rasmea Odeh.
Arizona protest demands freedom for Rasmea Odeh. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tucson, AZ - Over a dozen activists rallied in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh outside the Federal Courthouse in front of busy Tucson traffic on Nov. 18. Amid the presence of Border Patrol, sheriffs and federal police, the group stood firm and chanted, “Free Rasmea now!” Odeh is a 67-year-old Palestinian American community organizer from Chicago who is now in Saint Clair County jail in Michigan.

Alisha Vasquez, an immigrant rights activist said, “This government is all about creating fear and using scare tactics to divide the people. Rasmea is being attacked by the U.S. government because she is an Arab woman and an outstanding organizer. After the Israelis raped and tortured her, she found strength to fight for justice for women and Palestine. And now she is being re-terrorized by Israel’s partner-in-crime, the U.S. government. This is what justice looks like in America.”

Tucsonans demonstrated as a part of the National Week of Action in support of the well-respected community organizer from Chicago. “We are here for Rasmea. We are for all of Palestine. We must defend Rasmea just like we must defend Palestine,” said long-time anti-war activist John Mackoviak.

In addition to street protests outside the District Court, anti-war activists plan to build the campaign to free Rasmea Odeh by conducting letter writing workshops and educational events. Odeh’s defense lawyers filed a motion for her release while she awaits sentencing. They cited her many ties to the Chicago community and the scores of Arab women and other supporters who attended her trial in Detroit.