USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Gaza rally for BBC correspondent

Posted by uscsjp on March 25, 2007

Palestinian print workers run off posters of Alan Johnston ahead of the rally

Alan Johnston has been based in Gaza for three years

Journalists in Gaza have held a rally to call for the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston and an end to the kidnap and intimidation of reporters. The demonstration was the latest in a series of appeals since Mr Johnston disappeared two weeks ago on his way home from work in Gaza City.

More than 100 journalists, politicians, and others attended the rally.

Palestinian officials have said all possible efforts are being made to secure Mr Johnston’s release.

Gaza has seen numerous demonstrations in support of the BBC correspondent, and last Wednesday Palestinian journalists staged a strike.

There have also been numerous international demands for his immediate release, including from the Arab League, the UK government and the EU.

Respected reporter

Sunday’s demonstration took place near the Unknown Soldier memorial in the centre of Gaza City.

A tent covered in pictures of Alan Johnston was erected nearby, and contained messages demanding his release written by local Palestinians.

A six-metre (20ft) poster of the missing reporter hung from an advertising hoarding.

The BBC’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Simon Wilson, expressed gratitude for the international support the BBC had received, but urged all individuals and parties with any influence to work “tirelessly” to secure Alan Johnston’s release.

His call was echoed by the head of the Palestinian Press Association , Sakr Abu al-Aoun, who said the Palestinian authorities and different factions must to do everything possible to free the missing reporter.

Mr Johnston has been the BBC’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip for the past three years – and the only foreign journalist from a major media organisation based in Gaza. (continued)

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2 Responses to “Gaza rally for BBC correspondent”

  1. fatima said

    The Palestinians have shown themselves to not be worthy of showing their humanitarism. This reporter was on their side. By the time he is released, he will pretend to be sympathetic, but he will run back to England and decide to report on the growth of lettuce in Ireland. What fools the PA is!

  2. uscsjp said

    As far as I’m aware, all major Palestinian factions have called for his release. This certainly has not been orchestrated by the PA.

    See Laila El-Haddad’s blog (http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/): “All of the major groups (Hamas, Fatah, even al-Aqsa Martrys Brigades, who vowed to dispatch their own little search party to find Alan) have condemned the kidnapping, though I am sure press releases are of little comfort to someone in captivity.”

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