“We are being treated as if we were criminals”, said Ayed Al Azzeh, shaking his head. A schoolteacher from Bethlehem, Ayed is one of thousands of public-sector teachers across the West Bank who have been striking since February 10th.
The strike comes after teachers claim the Palestinian Authority (PA) failed to follow through with wage increases, promised after strikes in 2013. Teachers’ salaries have been frozen for the past few years, despite rising living costs.
Approximately 20,000 protestors demonstrated in Ramallah upon the launch of the strike in the largest gathering since Arafat’s death in 2004, initiating a government crackdown on any further attempts of mass mobilization.
Despite the efforts of the Palestinian police and army, an estimated 15,000 protestors gathered in Ramallah for a second time on Tuesday, demanding the government meets their demands.
In an exclusive video for Mondoweiss, teachers at Tuesday’s protest reveal the obstacles they had to overcome merely to be present, and why they are resolute to continue the strike until the government concedes.
Video: Megan Hanna and Maya al-Orzza