Hundreds march in Philadelphia to free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Philadelphia, April 24. SLL photos: Stephen Millies

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Philadelphia on April 24 to demand freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal. That day the world-renowned political prisoner turned 70 years old. 

Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent over 42 years in prison, including 29 years on death row, for a crime he didn’t commit. He was framed for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. 

People gathered on the south side of Philadelphia’s City Hall in front of the statue of Octavius Catto. The Black educator and freedom fighter was assassinated by a racist in 1871 when Catto was 32 years old.

Frederick Douglass called Philadelphia the most racist city in the United States. Police dropped a Pentagon-supplied bomb there on a house belonging to the MOVE organization on May 13, 1985. Eleven Black people — six adults and five children — were killed.

The wealthy and powerful made former Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo, a super bigot, mayor in 1971. Mayor Rizzo threatened Mumia at a news conference. 

As a 15-year-old Mumia Abu-Jamal joined the Black Panther Party in 1969.The FBI kept a file on the young revolutionary.

Mama Pam

Marching through Philadelphia

Long-time freedom fighter Mama Pam was among those that spoke at city hall. Baba Zayid of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee fired up the crowd.

People marched to District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office and then through downtown to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Philadelphia office.

Both these politicians claim to be “liberals,” yet they refuse to free Mumia Abu-Jamal or even give him a new trial. Dozens of boxes containing evidence were “discovered” in Krassner’s office that had been kept from Mumia’s defense counsel.

Fred Hampton Jr. spoke in front of Krasner’s officer. Hampton’s father, Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, was murdered by police on Dec. 4, 1969, along with fellow Panther Mark Clark. The assassinations were part of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program to exterminate Black leaders.

Representatives of the Philadelphia Free Palestine Coalition and Queers for Palestine also spoke there. Pentagon-supplied bombs have killed 14,000 children in Gaza and those who died at the MOVE house in Philadelphia.

Also speaking were organizers from France who’ve been fighting for Mumia’s freedom. There’s a street in St. Denis, a suburb of Paris, named for Mumia Abu-Jamal. 

A speaker from the Black Alliance for Peace addressed marchers at Gov. Shapiro’s office. Later that day, a rally was held at the Waters Memorial AME Church.

Free Mumia and all political prisoners!

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