Thousands of protesters from cities all over the world gathered on 9 and 10 August to protest Israel’s continued attacks on Palestinians and call for an end to the siege on Gaza.
The Bethlehem-based International Middle East Media Center reports that “Hundreds of thousands of people participated in marches and rallies Saturday in hundreds of cities around the world, including Washington DC, Cape Town South Africa, Birmingham and Dublin, with an estimated 150,000 people protesting in London alone.”
Other protests were held in New York, Olympia (Washington), Chicago and in multiple cities across Europe.
In the US capital, protesters gathered for a second consecutive weekend to call for an end to US complicity with Israel’s onslaught against Gaza. Last week, organizers say 50,000 people attended the national march on the White House on 2 August to try and stop Israel’s attacks on Gaza and pressure the United States to end all military aid to Israel.
Watch the video of the 2 August protest in Washington, DC above.
Despite the protests that have taken place throughout the world condemning Israel’s violence and occupation, Gaza’s civilian population continues to be murdered and displaced in an inhumane open-air prison. More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 10,000 have been injured over the last month.
Protesters in the occupied West Bank have been targeted with tear gas and live ammunition by Israeli forces during the last month of demonstrations against Israel’s attacks. Between 7 July and 5 August, seventeen Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were killed by Israeli forces as protests over the slaughter in Gaza were held in refugee camps, villages and cities across the territory.
“What we are waiting for here is for Washington [DC] to be free. What we are waiting for here, is for our president [Barack Obama] to hear our demands,” the National Coordinator for American Muslims for Palestine, Osama Abu Irshaid, said at the 2 August protest.
Energy wasn’t hard to come by during the demonstration but professor and author Dr. Cornel West’s condemnation of President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set the mood for a passionate demonstration.
“Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal not because he’s Jewish but because he has chosen to promote occupation and human annihilation,” West said. “Barack Obama is a war criminal, not because he’s black or half African and white but because his drones have killed 233 innocent children and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”
Once the speeches were over, many demonstrators carried caskets with a Palestinian flag wrapped around each of them to the offices of The Washington Post and the Caterpillar Corporation and then back to the White House.
Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, an anti-war group, said The Washington Post has served as Israel’s propaganda machine while Caterpillar helps Israel carry out war crimes and human rights violations by continuing to do business with the state, which uses its equipment to destroy Palestinian homes.
“They [major media companies] can no longer conceal the fact that Israel’s policies have never been about peace,” said Becker.
The peaceful demonstration began at 1pm, lasted for a few hours past the march and didn’t completely clear out until 6pm. A handful of Zionists came to counter the protest at the beginning of the march but failed to antagonize the Palestine solidarity crowd.
Speakers in DC stated that this wasn’t an issue of religion but an issue of human rights, a principle reflected in the diversity of the march participants.
“We stand not with the level of skin pigmentation or ethnic identity. This is ethical, this is spiritual with political consequences. And that is why we do acknowledge the need for resistance under conditions of occupation and annihilation,” West said to a cheering crowd in DC.
Israel’s violence is being met with growing opposition in the US.
Organizers said most people arrived on dozens of buses from cities across the country like Chicago, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Richmond, Virginia. The protest received a lot of support from passers-by. Many joined the protest and began chanting with marchers after learning about the atrocities committed by Israel with the financial assistance from the US.