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Activists graffiti Ofer prison's walls in support of Palestinian hunger strikers

May 21, 2017 10:37 P.M. (Updated: May 22, 2017 12:34 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activists broke into the grounds of Israel's military court at the Ofer detention center Sunday afternoon and spray painted its outer walls with slogans in support of Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike across Israeli prisons, stenciled images of the strike's leader Marwan Barghouthi, and raised Palestinian flags.

Chairman of the occupied West Bank's higher committee against Israel's separation wall and settlements Munthir Amireh told Ma'an that the activists broke into the court's backyard, located in the West Bank's Ramallah district, to "express the Palestinian people's anger at the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation, and at Israel's indifference to the demands of prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 35 days."

The Palestinian people, he added, still have much to accomplish on behalf of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel "who represent a symbol of struggle, resistance, steadfastness, and dignity."

A member of the popular committees Mahmoud Zawahra said that the activists stormed the Ofer detention center and raised Palestinian flags on its walls to confirm that "prisoners in the occupation's jails are not alone," and that "the Palestinian people and the resistance will support them by all means."

In footage taken at the scene, one man says, while spray-painting an iconic image of Marwan Barghouthi raising his handcuffed hands over his head, that the action came in response to "the (Israeli) settlers, the dogs" who held a barbecue outside of Ofer prison in the early days of the strike to taunt hunger-striking prisoners with the smell of food.

The mass prison strike entered its 35th day on Sunday, as 220 more joined the some 1,300 Palestinians currently forgoing food in protest of their conditions in Israeli prisons.

Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among other demands for basic rights.

Since the strike began on April 17, solidarity sit-ins have been established across the occupied Palestinian territory, with daily demonstrations being organized locally as well as abroad.

A general strike was called for by the committee established to support the hunger strike, set to take place on Monday to coincide with US President Donald Trump’s arrival to Israel. Palestinian leadership also called for a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday during Trump's visit in Bethlehem, to express rejection to the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US sponsorship.
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