Nakba protest: Cops arrest hundreds of Palestinians and supporters in NYC

Photo: Ziad Al-Najjar

Thousands of people marched in Brooklyn, New York, on May 11, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians from their homes. Called the Nakba — Arabic for “catastrophe” — by Palestinians, the 1948 massacres allowed Zionists to set up their apartheid state of Israel.

Over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed and 15,000 Palestinians were killed during the Nakba. At least 110 Palestinians in Deir Yassin village were murdered on April 9, 1948, by the Irgun and Lehi terrorist gangs. Zionists threw bodies down wells.

Seventy-six years later, Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Genocide Joe Biden have killed over 30,000 children, women and men in Gaza. Hundreds more have been slain on the West Bank by Zionist settlers, cops and soldiers.

It was these war crimes that were protested by thousands of people who came to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The basketball arena is named for the Barclays Bank, British loan sharks with $2 trillion in assets whose business was jump started by slavery. With billions invested in arms companies, Barclays now profits off genocide in Palestine.

The rally was called by Palestinian Assembly for Liberation – Al Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PAL-Awda) and supported by the Shut It Down for Palestine Coalition.

Speakers included representatives of PAL-Awda, the Palestinian Youth Movement, American Muslims for Palestine, The People’s Forum, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Raja Abdulhaq, co-founder of the Quds News Network and former director of the Islamic Leadership Council.

Even as the rally was beginning, helmeted police charged into the crowd to seize an organizer holding a bullhorn and another protester. That’s freedom of speech in the capital of capitalism.

Hundreds of cops wearing helmets and other riot gear threatened protesters. Prison buses were lined up on Flatbush Avenue along with dozens of police vehicles.

After the rally, people began to march, with cops trying to block them and force them off the streets. Hundreds attempted to march to Manhattan, with many arrested on the Manhattan Bridge. Even a media photographer was busted. The bridge was shut down for hours. 

Other contingents marched through the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. Police arrested 20 or more protesters on Myrtle Avenue. Many residents and shoppers greeted the marchers.

Around 200 people were arrested in total. Police were obviously seeking to bust such a large number in order to try to stop the Palestine solidarity movement.

So far nearly 3,000 people have been arrested across the United States with dozens of university encampments raided. None of these attacks will stop the movement for Palestinian freedom.

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