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Hundreds in Gaza attend candlelight vigil for prisoners

June 6, 2014 4:18 A.M. (Updated: June 8, 2014 9:38 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians held a vigil on Thursday night at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in western Gaza City in solidarity with hundreds of prisoners on hunger strike against their detention without trial.

Demonstrators held candles aloft and spelled out "The prisoners are in danger … support is a duty" with them on the ground during the protest, which was organized by the Popular Committee against the Siege to support 100 prisoners who have been on strike for more than 40 days, along with hundreds more who have since joined the strike.

Head of the committee Jamal al-Khudari said in a press conference that "the prisoners are in real danger in Israeli prisons," stressing that "administrative detention is illegal and against all international laws."

"Gaza is under siege by Israel only," he added,"but the prisoners are being held under more than one siege."

Al-Khudari called for support from the government as well as from other Arab and Islamic officials to help the prisoners and to pressure Israel to end their policy of detention without charge or trial of Palestinian prisoners, which is the goal of the hunger strike.

Al-Khudari announced that the committee had called 2014 a year for freeing prisoners and ending their imprisonment and confinement, and that all the committee's activities will be in support for prisoners and against the Israeli siege of Gaza, which has been in place since 2007.

5,224 Palestinian prisoners are currently being held in Israeli prisons, according to the PLO, and 800,000 have been arrested by Israel since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967.

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