Emergency rally to free Ahed Tamimi
New York City - A crowd of around 150 people converged in Grand Central Station today to protest Israel’s detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi. Chants of “Free Palestine, Free Ahed Tamimi” filled the station. Onlookers stood on the balcony observing listening and watching as around 25 people spoke.

Ahed Tamimi, from the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, was arrested on December 19 after images of her slapping a soldier went viral and Israeli politicians demanded she be imprisoned for life. Moments before Ahed slapped the soldier, her 14-year-old cousin Mohammed Tamimi had been shot in the face with a rubber coated steel bullet.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman Tamimi was arrested a few hours later, when she went to the police station to try to be present for her daughter’s interrogation. Both Ahed and Nariman have remained in detention since their arrest. Ahed is facing 12 charges, including stone throwing, incitement and stone throwing. Although she is a minor, she faces a significant prison sentence.

Israel imprisons around 700 Palestinian children per year in their military court system. The children are denied the right to have a parent or attorney present during their interrogation. Since her arrest, Ahed has been held in a freezing cold isolation cell, unable to see her mother.

“Isarel’s anger at Ahed, their hell bent intention to destroy her, comes from her refusal to submit to their occupation occupation,” said CODEPINK National Director Ariel Gold. “Rather than lowering her eyes in compliance, Ahed stands up to the army, unafraid, and demands her rights. She is accused of slapping a soldier. But Israel, not Ahed, is the real criminal.”

“Ahed is only 16 year old and she is sitting in jail,” said Nerdeen Kiswani from NYC Students for Justice in Palestine. “Palestinians have not only the right to resist their oppression, but the obligation. Ahed is one of many children being detained and tortured in Israel’s military courts. It’s an apartheid system. We are out here today and we will be out here in solidarity as long as Israel continues to imprison Ahed and her mother.”

"This rally showed the broad unity Ahed has inspired here, with every organization in solidarity with Palestine standing together to support her and demand her freedom,” said Joe Catron of Samidoun. “Her detention is a crucial test for all supporters of the Palestinian national and prisoners' movement. Israel's attacks on Nabi Saleh, the Tamimi family and Palestinian children are atrocities we must continue to confront."

The rally was organized by CODEPINK and Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. It was cosponsored by 32 organizations.

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