New York (AFP)
Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in cities across North America on Saturday, calling for an end to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip as the worst violence in years erupted between the Jewish state and activists Islamists.
Solidarity rallies with the Palestinians have taken place in cities such as New York, Boston, Washington, Montreal and Dearborn, Michigan.
About two thousand people gathered in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn chanting “Free and Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
They waved Palestinian flags and held signs that read “End Israeli Apartheid” and “Freedom for Gaza”.
Many protesters wore black and white, red and white keffiyeh scarves, while drivers sounded car horns and motorcyclists cranked their engines as the sun set.
Several Jews were present, carrying signs saying “Not in my name” and “Solidarity with Palestine” as demonstrators invaded a street in the neighborhood which has a large Arab population.
A few dozen police watched the peaceful demonstration, dubbed “Defend Palestine.”
“I am here because I want a Palestinian life to equal an Israeli life and today it is not,” said Emraan Khan, 35, a Manhattan business strategist, waving a flag. Palestinian.
“When you have a state with nuclear weapons and another state of villagers with rocks, it’s clear who is to blame,” he added.
Alison Zambrano, a 20-year-old student, came from neighboring Connecticut for the demonstration.
“Palestinians have the right to live freely and the children of Gaza must not be killed,” she told AFP.
Mashhour Ahmad, a 73-year-old Palestinian who has lived in New York for 50 years, said: “do not blame the victim for the assault”.
“I am telling Mr. Biden and his cabinet to stop supporting the murder. Support the victims, stop the oppression.
“The violence committed recently by the Israeli army is genocide,” he added, lifting a poster over his head saying “Free Palestine, end of occupation”.
President Joe Biden spoke separately on Saturday with his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, expressing “grave concern” over six days of violence that left dozens dead or injured.
– ‘Catastrophe’ day –
He expressed Washington’s “strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution as the best way to achieve a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the White House said.
The protests took place on the anniversary of Nakba Day, or “catastrophe,” which saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced during the creation of Israel in 1947-1948.
Crowds of people gathered in Copley Square in Boston, while a few hundred people gathered on the grounds of the Washington Monument in the US capital.
Several thousand demonstrated in Montreal, calling for “the liberation of Palestine”.
Protesters also denounced Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza and carried placards accusing Israel of violating international law during the protest in the center of the Canadian city.
Previously, a caravan of cars rang and drove with Palestinian flags blowing in the wind as they demonstrated outside the Israeli consulate in the western part of Montreal.
© 2021 AFP