In honor of the international workers’ day celebration, workers in the Gaza Strip held a rally of over 2,000 people at the Erez crossing with Israel, and 300 people at the Rafah border with Egypt, to call for an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza that has led to unemployment rates of 80%.Leftist political parties, inclduing the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the People’s Party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others, organized the Mayday rally to coincide with similar events all over the world.
One of the Erez protest organizers, Ramzi Rabah, told reporters, ‘We call on the world to stop the siege of Gaza and to come to the defence of Palestinian workers in all Palestinian territories.’
Mayday is celebrated all over the world to honor working men and women, and to celebrate the achievements of labor organizing movements of the last century.
Many Palestinian workers in Gaza were dependent on Israel for their jobs, and when the siege began after the Palestinian democratic election of Hamas in 2006, the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip began to soar to unprecedented levels.
The main Mayday protest in Gaza was held near the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza, between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israeli authorities have kept this crossing tightly sealed, allowing only a tiny trickle of goods to enter Gaza, since imposing the siege on the coastal Strip.
Another rally and sit-in was held at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, where workers remembered the four Palestinian workers who were gassed to death this week by Egyptian authorities in the tunnels under the Gaza-Egpyt border. A statement by the Hamas government in Gaza read, ‘We ask the Egyptian leadership to stop killing our workers by gas that is illegal under international law.’
The statement added, ‘Hamas supports all workers, especially those suffering until the end of the siege and the reopening of the crossings.’