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Protesting US support for Israel, musicians setup tent encampment at US Embassy

Arah Juang - May 15, 2024

On the afternoon of Friday May 10, artists from the Musicians Coalition for Gaza initiated a solidarity action for the Palestinian people by setting up a tent encampment in front of the United States Embassy in Central Jakarta.

This action was held to protest the involvement of the US in supporting its ally, Israel, and the genocide being committed against the Palestinian people. Several representatives from other people's organisations and individuals also came to the action.

By 3 am, scores of people had already started arriving and they immediately set up tents right opposite the US Embassy.

Furthermore, several participants could be seen putting up Palestinian flags and black placards that combined to read the message "FREE PALESTINE".

Other participants then held artistic activities by drawing, writing and taking out posters that they brought depicting what is happening in Palestine, and also condemning the state of Israel which is led by right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The action was inspired by the student occupations which were first carried out by Columbia University students, which then spread to other campuses in the US and around the world.

As well as the occupation and art activities, the action was also punctuated by free speeches by several participants. Dito, the first speaker, conveyed how America, which is often praised for its progress in democracy and recognition of human rights, has turned a blind eye to what is happening in Palestine.

"This is the double standard that Western countries like the United States have", said Dito.

Since October last year, almost 35,000 Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom have been women and children – and the injury of thousands more.

The next speaker Ojan, emphasised that the conflict in Palestine was not a religious issue, but a humanitarian one. "You don't need to be Muslim to give solidarity to the Palestinian people", stressed Ojan.

Indeed, the attacks carried out by Israel not only harm Muslims, but also other communities living in Palestine. One being the Christian community who has had to witness their churches being bombed and attacked by the Israeli army.

Therefore, the speaker, representing the group Resistance, explained that in various countries, solidarity with Palestine is growing, not only from Muslim communities, but also from Christians and Jews, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) groups, atheists and others.

"In the struggle against occupation and colonialism, it is very important for oppressed people, whatever their background, to unite and build a larger solidarity movement as is currently developing on American and Australian campuses", he stressed.

In addition to this, the representative from Resistance also emphasised how important it is for the public to be more critical of the Indonesian government, for example regarding the two state solution that they support.

"This can legitimise the existence of the Zionist state of Israel, which since its establishment has continued to discriminate, take over land, occupy and repress, and kill the Palestinian people", he explained.

The speeches were interspersed by participants presenting musical performances and praying together.

At 6 pm, the protesters decided to continue the action by staying overnight and occupying the area around the front of the embassy.

A few minutes later however, a police unit arrived and asked the protesters to take down the tents and stop the demonstration on the grounds that the protest did not have a permit and it was already growing dark.

A dispute broke out between the protesters who wanted to defend their freedom of expression and several police officers, until finally the protesters were forced to take down the tents.

Despite this, the demonstrators remain committed that actions of this kind will continue and not stop until Palestine gains genuine independence.

The action was closed with the crowd chanting the solidarity slogan "Free Palestine" and "From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free". (taw)

– Arah Juang is the newspaper of the Socialist Union (PS)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Puluhan Massa Berkumpul Mendirikan Tenda, Protes Keterlibatan Amerika Serikat terhadap Genosida di Palestina".]

Source: https://www.arahjuang.com/2024/05/15/puluhan-massa-berkumpul-mendirikan-tenda-protes-keterlibatan-amerika-serikat-terhadap-genosida-di-palestina