Palestinian 'freedom riders' dragged off bus to Jerusalem

By staff writers
16 Nov 2011

Palestinian activists describing themselves as 'freedom riders' have been dragged by police off an Israeli bus they planned to ride into Jerusalem.

Six Palestinians were involved in the nonviolent action, clutching national flags for the recognition of their statehood and surrounded by dozens of reporters. They wore T-shirts proclaiming 'Freedom' and 'Justice'.

The bus stopped at the Hizme checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israeli police boarded, demanding to see entry permits.

The bus involved serves illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land. Palestinian activists and their supporters say that they want the same recognition for their national identity and self-determination as Israel claims - but without robbing the rights and dignity of others.

The protest is part of an increasing number of peaceful direct actions aimed at making a strong moral and political case for justice, and undermining the cycle of violence perpetuated by the Israeli state and armed militant groups.

"We want to show the system of discrimination that we live in here. My point isn't go to jail. My point is to have the freedom to get on a bus," declared Badia Dwaik, a 38-year-old civil servant.

The activists adopted the name 'Freedom Riders' after 1960s American civil rights movement which worked in the US South to counter racism and segregation.

[Ekk/3]

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