Palestinians in the occupied West Bank City of Bethlehem gathered on Tuesday night outside the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus, to hold a vigil in honor of George Floyd and Eyad al-Halaq.
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25 has sparked widespread protests across the globe as people demand an end to police brutality and racial injustices in the US.
Just five days after Floyd was killed, Israeli police gunned down Eyad al-Halaq, a Palestinian man who had autism. He was killed on his way to a school for people with disabilities in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli police claimed they confused his cell phone for a gun. It was later discovered, after he was killed, that he was unarmed. The officers responsible for al-Halaq’s death have still not been charged with his killing.
In the wake of al-Halaq’s killing, protests expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian struggle for liberation have popped up across Israel and the occupied territories, with many people drawing parallels between Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinians, and police brutality in the US.
In Bethlehem, demonstrators stood around a poster depicting photos of Floyd and al-Halaq with the message “Our struggles are one. #BlackLivesMatter #PalestinianLivesMattter.”
People laid flowers, lit candles, and chanted “black lives matter” along with other messages of solidarity and support for protesters in the US.
Mahmoud Zawahreh, a local activist, told Mondoweiss that “it is important for Palestinians to stand with all the oppressed people in the world, of all nationalities, who are the victims of racism and persecution.”
“Today we are asking for all the people who are under oppression to stand together against imperialism and racism,” Zawahreh continued.
“Our message for the protesters in the US, from the popular resistance in Palestine, is to stay strong and continue. We ask you to stay strong and continue the protests.”