As a group calling itself the Homeland Troupe danced outside Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday, about 200 people gathered to celebrate the Palestine Liberation Organization’s recent declaration of an independent state.
“We know this is a difficult journey, full of storms and obstacles,” one of the organizers, Michel Shehadeh of Long Beach, told the rally. “But it is a ship fueled by our people’s determination to live free.”
The demonstrators, many of them wearing kaffiyeh , the traditional Arab headdress, traveled downtown in a motorcade festooned with red, white, green and black balloons, representing the colors of the PLO. They carried signs reading, “Long Live the Intifada, " in reference to the 11-month-old uprising by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank.
Overhead a plane trailed a banner proclaiming, “Long Live the Palestinian State.”
Central American ‘Support’
Among the speakers was Don White, an organizer for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, who said the independent homeland had the support of “the people of Central America.”
“They draw tremendous inspiration from the struggle of the Palestinian people,” White said. ". . . The people of Central America have felt the oppression of Israeli policies.”
PLO leader Yasser Arafat announced Tuesday that the Palestine National Council, the organization’s parliamentary arm, had proclaimed the establishment of an independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital. The declaration did not set out specific boundaries, which Palestinians believe should be determined by negotiations.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has rejected the declaration on grounds that the PLO is a terrorist organization.