PRESS RELEASE For immediate release
Date: March 26, 2003
Contact: (917) 517-3627
NY PROTESTERS "DIE IN" UNDER BULLDOZER AT BANK LEUMI, SHUT DOWN 5TH AVE
Non-violent protest highlights Israelās use of Iraq war as cover for new
assaults on Palestinians
New York At a New York branch of Israel's Bank Leumi, eighteen protesters
locked together as a human barricade across Fifth Avenue at 9am this
morning. Covered in fake blood, the protesters lay piled in the street at
the foot of a mock Caterpillar bulldozer. The act of civil disobedience
referenced the murder of US peace activist Rachel Corrie by an Israel army
Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza earlier this month.
Chanting "Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine," the protesters
shut down Fifth Avenue for over an hour, refusing to let New York go about
its business while the US war on Iraq places the lives of Palestinians at
greater risk than ever.
Police became stained with red liquid as they arrested the die-in
participants. Sixteen protesters were roughly taken into custody, adding to
the ranks of the nearly 1000 peaceful anti-war demonstrators violently
removed from New York streets over the last several weeks. Video witnesses
recorded police officers dragging protesters painfully across the street.
Protesters were also subjected to violence from onlookers, who kicked, spat
at and threw things at the peaceful protesters as they lay motionless in the
"This war is realizing the worst fears of Palestinians," said protester Mark
Field, a New York activist against the illegal Israeli occupation of
Palestine. "While the world's attention is focused on Iraq and Arabs are
cast as the enemy, Israel has stepped up its assaults on Palestinian towns.
Under cover of war, Israel is freer than ever to label every Palestinian a
terrorist, to detain civilians indefinitely, to demolish civilian homes and
seize additional Palestinian lands."
"Bank Leumi is a pillar of Israeli finance, with $51 billion in assets. The
illegal occupation of Palestinian towns and the killing of civilians are
supported by Bank Leumiās investments in the Israeli military economy," said
protester Rachel Fineberg, a Jewish human rights activist. "Enough is enough
weāre shutting this war machine down."
"We are human rights activists many of us have seen the incredible
violations of Palestinian human rights first-hand," said protester Lila
Greene, a queer activist who visited the West Bank to support non-violent
Palestinian organizing in 2002. "We refuse to allow Israel to remove us as
witnesses to war crimes. The Israeli army killed Rachel Corrie, they killed
Iain Hook and they regularly kill Palestinian non-violent organizers but
they can't bury the truth. Neither Israel nor the United States can commit
war crimes in secret anymore. The whole world is watching."
PHOTOS online at http://ww3report.com/protest.html (call for hi-res photos)
VIDEO available request by phone