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South Florida anti-war activists rally as Rasmea Odeh trial begins in Detroit

By Cassia Laham |
November 6, 2014
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Ft. Lauderdale, FL – At the start of rush hour on Nov. 4, a dozen anti-war organizers and members of the Palestinian community gathered outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale with a huge banner, “Drop The Charges Against Rasmea!”

Nov. 4 marked the first day of Rasmea Odeh’s trial for trumped up charges of immigration fraud. The U.S. government alleges that Odeh failed to report her 1969 arrest, conviction and imprisonment by Israeli military forces while she lived under occupation in Palestine.

Cassia Laham, with People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) said that the U.S. government is targeting Rasmea for political reasons. Laham explained, “Our government is the only criminal here. These allegations are only surfacing now because Rasmea has been speaking out against their policies in the Middle East. These are the same people who support Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. We can’t trust them to give her a fair trial.”

Many of the demonstrators agreed that the legal system unfairly stacked the cards against Rasmea Odeh before her trial even started. Judge Drain ruled against allowing the defense to introduce evidence about the torture Odeh suffered in an Israeli military prison.

Pamela Maldonado, a protest organizer commented, “The prosecution has even gone as far as accusing protesters like us of jury tampering. It’s disgusting. They don’t want Rasmea to defend herself in the court, and they’re trying to scare us away from rallying outside the court!”

At the busy intersection the crowd held signs reading, “Rasmea is a people’s hero”, “Drop the charges now!” and “Solidarity is not a Crime.” As the evening wore on, other workers were able to join the protest.

The crowd was defiant and determined, despite a few minutes of rain. One of the most popular chants was, “Drop the charges, this is garbage!” The demonstrators resolved to continue fighting until the charges are dropped and the attacks on Rasmea Odeh are ended.

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