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Freedom for Palestine and Rasmea rally

By staff |
August 3, 2014
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Sarah Martin speaking at St Paul rally in support of Rasmea Odeh.(FightBack!News/Staff)

St. Paul, MN – 150 people gathered here for Women Against Military Madness’ weekly Friday Palestine vigil, Aug. 1, at the intersection of Summit and Snelling Avenues. Protesters chanted “Free Palestine” and got honks from drivers. This was the third Friday vigil since the start of the recent upsurge in Palestine.

Protesters heard from Sherine Mashni who has close ties to the conflict in Palestine. She is a family member of both 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair who was killed by Israeli settlers and of 15-year-old Tariq Khieder who was beaten by Israeli police, arrested and then kept on house arrest before finally being allowed to return home to Tampa, Florida. She thanked the crowd for protesting and continuing to demand an end to the attack on Gaza.

This week’s vigil also addressed the case of Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh who had a court date in Detroit the day before. Sarah Martin, of the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression, spoke to the crowd about Odeh’s case.

Martin stated, “Rasmea’s life embodies that of Palestinians. In 1948 her family was driven out of their village along with 750,000 other Palestinians in what is known as Al Nakba or the catastrophe. As she grew up she became involved in the struggle for the liberation for Palestine. Then In 1969, on Eid, the Israeli army came to her house and arrested her, her father and her sister. For the next 25 days she was tortured in unspeakable ways night and day. She was beaten, sexually assaulted and electrocuted. Only when she was convinced her father would be tortured, she signed a confession. She spent the next ten years in prison and was released in a prisoner exchange. Some years later she came to this country and has been here for 20 years. For the past 10 years she has been in Chicago working with the AAAN (Arab American Action Network). She now faces 10 years in prison and deportation after that.”

Martin continued, “Yesterday in Detroit, which is where her trial is being held, there was a hearing. She and her defense team asked that Judge Borman recuse himself because he is an ardent Zionist, but he refused. On a positive note, the courtroom was packed with so many of her supporters that not everyone could get in. There was a picket line outside the court. Her trial will begin Sept. 8 and is expected to last about three weeks. We are calling on people to attend as many days as they can.”

This week’s vigil was co-sponsored by WAMM, the Minnesota Anti-War Committee and the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

The next protest will be at Senator Klobuchar’s office at 1200 Washington Avenue S in Minneapolis on Aug. 6 at 4:30 p.m. There will be a rally, which focuses on the senator’s record followed by a march to the Star Tribune newspaper to challenge the mainstream media’s blackout of the local grassroots Palestine solidarity movement. The Minnesota Anti-War Committee is organizing the rally and march.