Post script on protests

11 February 2011, Palestine:  post script on protests

The evening after Friday prayers, on the anniversary of the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, people heard that Mubarak had fled. Unions in the West Bank joined a spontaneous celebration march in the centre of Ramallah, which is now hung with flags of the Democratic Front, a left party within the PLO.  One chant was that “Ben Ali called Mubarak to join the other thieves in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).  Another was that “after Egypt the dictators in nearby places will fall”. This was a rare instance of spontaneous political freedom. Seven of the young men who led chants against Mubarak, America, the PA and Oslo at the march on 5 February were arrested and beaten up by the PA’s USA-trained security forces. In cities and camps up and down the Gaza Strip people came into the streets in spontaneous celebration parades, congratulating the people of Egypt, and firing guns into the sky as if marking a wedding. Hamas quickly congratulated the people of Egypt, calling for the Rafah border to be opened, and for Egypt to rapidly assist the reconstruction of Gaza. In occupied East Jerusalem workers, women and youth defied Israeli police in a large celebratory march down Salah ed-Din street. Further marches were held in Palestinian commuities in the Gallilee.