For Immediate Release
7 April 2001
PALESTINIANS RALLY FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN
NEW YORK (7 April 2001) Thousands of Palestinians and their supporters gathered over the weekend in what some say is one of the largest gathering of Palestinians ever, to bring to world attention the plight of the Palestinian refugees and the right to return to their homes and to demand the end of the belligerent occupation of Palestine.
In New York, approximately 8,000 gathered on Saturday, for the Right of Return rally, spearheaded by Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.
Palestinians and supporters came by plane, car, and bus, from all parts of the U.S. and other countries to join in the rally. Marchers assembled in front of the Israeli mission and headed toward Union Square in Manhattan. As they made their way down, they chanted "No Return, No Peace," and, "Zionists, Zionists you must know, back to Palestine we will go."
For many marchers, the rally was a very emotional experience and amidst the swelling crowd the unity and determination of Palestinians and their supporters grew with every chant. Marchers wore sweatshirts with the slogan "No Return = No Peace" with a map of Palestine and a key, symbolic of the return home.
The march and rally coincided with the fifty-third anniversary of the massacre of Palestinian civilians committed by Zionist forces in the village of Deir Yassin. The event was also organized to protest the ongoing aggression and use of excessive force by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians in the past 6 months, since the outbreak of the recent Intifada, and to express solidarity with Palestinians living under harsh conditions in the occupied territories.
Some of the speakers at the rally included Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, Palestinian journalist Muna Hamze, Puerto Rican dissident Rafael Cancel Miranda, and included statements from the Intifada leadership, the National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, and other expressions of solidarity. The rally also included a live feed with a simultaneous rally in Nazareth and with George Habash, former Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Similar rallies were organized over the weekend in Dheishe, Balata and several other refugee camps in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria and also in Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
Rally attendee and organizer Rima Anabtawi said "it was a great moment of solidarity and unity with Palestinians in exile all over the world. We have no choice but to stand up for the rights of our people wherever they are".
For media interviews, please visit our Press Room at http://al-awda.org/pressroom.htm .
Al-Awda - Palestine Right To Return Coalition-USA
PO Box 401
Hummelstown, Pa 17036