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Riding for Freedom

21/11/2011

On December 1, 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks from Montgomery-Alabama in the American south refused to give up her seat on a public bus to make room for a white passenger. Her action kick-started what has become known as the civil rights movement in the United States, which transformed race relations in America and the wider world. As we are approaching the 56th anniversary of the Montgomery incident, six West Bank Palestinians set out to ride on the public transportation provided for Jewish West Bank Settlers to go to Jerusalem, defying the current situation which prohibits them from accessing those buses or going to Jerusalem without applying for permits. These six individuals were referred to as the Freedom Riders, which was the same reference given to Ms. Parks and her fellow civil rights activists.

They set out on last Tuesday afternoon from Ramallah, and waited for a few hours before a bus would stop to let them on. While on the bus, the activists made statements about their intentions, and talked about the Palestinian reality in the West Bank. Their statements were live-streamed on the internet from a small handheld camera and internet transmitter. Israeli Journalist, Mya Guarneri followed the story of freedom riders and wrote an article for +972 Magazine, an independent Israeli blog that focuses on issues related to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.