According to Palestinian prisoners' rights NGO Addameer, since 1967 Israel has arrested approximately 800,000 Palestinians, a figure that equates to twenty per cent of all Palestinians in the 1967 occupied territory. Approximately 6,700 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli prisons.
In solidarity with Palestine's political prisoners, April 17th is marked annually as Palestinian Prisoners' Day both within Palestine and internationally.
In London, a group of activists who have been mobilising around the case of Administrative Detention detainee Mohammad Abu Sakha staged a Palestinian Prisoners Parade on April 16th marking Prisoners' Day as the national anti-Austerity demonstration took to London's streets.
Abu Sakha is a renowned trainer and performer at the Palestinian Circus School who was arrested in November whilst travelling from his family home in Jenin to the Circus School near Ramallah. He has been held under Administrative Detention ever since – imprisonment without charge or trial.
The Palestinian Prisoners' Parade featured street circus performances, impromptu Dabke dances and Capoiera as it accompanied the main anti-austerity march yet activists were clear that although circus was used to raise visibility, the event itself was an act of solidarity with all Palestinian prisoners, as described in literature distributed during the event:
"…Israel's mass incarceration of Palestinians is an inextricable part of the ongoing violence of occupation. Tearing at the fabric of Palestinian society, recent arrest campaigns seek to quash Palestinian ability to endure in their struggles against the occupation. It is important that on Palestinian Prisoners' day, we all stand united to call for an end to Israeli violations of Palestinian rights."
Images and story by MEMO photographer Rich Wiles.