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The New Arab

Ramallah 'pots and pans' protest shows solidarity with hunger-strikers

Protesters wave flags bearing a portrait of prominent jailed Palestinian Marwan Barghouti [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 April, 2017

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Hundreds of Palestinians marched in Ramallah clanking empty pots and pans in a show of support for over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners who embarked on a mass hunger strike this week.

Hundreds of Palestinians clanked pots and pans on Saturday as they marched through the streets of Ramallah in solidarity with over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners taking part in a mass hunger strike to protest conditions in Israeli jails.

The march aimed to raise awareness about prisoners' struggle as the hunger strike goes on and a message of support.

"Clanking empty pots and pans is a message we are trying to deliver to the prisoners to let them know we are with them," Abdel Fattah Dawla, the media spokesperson for a committee established to support the Freedom and Dignity strike, told The New Arab.

"We want to tell them that our pots and pans are empty in solidarity with their empty stomachs," he added.

"Food has no value if you are starving."

Led by Palestinian leader and one of the most high-profile detainees Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian detainees launched the hunger strike on 17 April, marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day.

It is considered one of the biggest protests in recent times, with inmates from Hamas and Islamic Jihad also participating in the action.

The aim is to press prison authorities to give detainees better medical services and access to telephones.

Barghouti is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada against the Israeli occupation, and was put into solitary confinement for penning a comment piece for the New York Times, sparking protests.

On Wednesday, the UN said it was closely watching the hunger strike and urged restraint following clashes with the strikers' supporters in the West Bank.

"We are obviously aware of the situation and following the developments closely," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the time.

"As a matter of principle, wherever it may be, we always call for prisoners to be treated in a humane way".

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a scale.

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