In a massive historic march on the White House in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4, 300,000 protesters demanded that President Joe Biden call an immediate halt to the U.S./Israeli genocidal war on 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza and end U.S. aid to Israel. Chants of, “Biden, Biden you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” could be heard throughout the day. (tinyurl.com/yc3f4fs8)
Biden’s current request to Congress for $14 billion in additional funding for Israel contains language suggesting it could be used for efforts to remove Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, leaving no doubt that he backs Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The turnout — the largest ever for Palestine in the U.S. capital — was one of dozens of protests in cities across the U.S. and around the globe.
At Freedom Plaza, blocks from the White House, demonstrators began arriving hours before the start of the 2 p.m. rally. By the time the march began, closer to 5 p.m., the crowd filled the plaza and all surrounding streets, going back for at least a half-mile on several. As the rally grew in size, most participants were too far away to hear the speakers, but they engaged in continuous chanting for hours on their own.
Standing on one of the concrete uprights and looking around the plaza, I felt like I was standing in a sea of demonstrators as far as one could see. All ages were present, from infants to grandparents with entire families attending, but the gathering consisted overwhelmingly of young people of all nationalities.
The rally chairs announced attendees from as far away as California, Florida, Maine and Texas. While most people arrived on buses, one vanload of activists with the Marxist Youth League drove 10 hours overnight from Buffalo, New York, to attend.
There were many Palestinian rights groups; Indigenous rights, trans, queer and anti-racist groups; anti-Zionist Jewish activists, as well as a grouping of Orthodox Jews who oppose Netanyahu and the Israeli state.
Several youths from D.C. were gathered at the base of a monument near the rear of the rally with their skateboards. They told Workers World that the plaza was a regular place for them to skate, but after arriving to find it in use, they decided to stay for the rally.
Several demonstrators carried a long paper scroll with the names of 8,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza as a result of the bombing and siege. Multiple groups of activists carried enormous Palestinian flags together, raising them above their heads as they marched.
A Palestinian who now lives in New Jersey brought 75 mock “body bags” to represent the members of his family in Gaza who had been killed in their sleep when Israeli bombs devastated their homes. Others carried mock coffins.
Protesters climbed to the tops of monuments in the plaza to place Palestinian flags in the hands of the bronze figures on horseback. The march passed a Starbucks with its windows plastered with “Free Gaza” stickers.
A number of organized contingents participated in the march, including Indigenous members from The Red Nation, Filipino activists with ANAKBAYAN, the Palestine Feminist Collective, Palestinian Youth Movement, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), South Asians and Indo Caribbeans, climate justice activists, Veterans for Peace, Workers World Party and more.
The Washington protest sponsors included Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Muslim Alliance, ANSWER Coalition, Maryland2PalestineOrganizers, National Students for Justice in Palestine, the Palestinian Youth Movement, The People’s Forum, United National Antiwar Coalition, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, U.S. Palestinian Community Network, and Workers World Party.
Around the globe massive demonstrations took place in many cities over the weekend, including Accra, the capital of Ghana; Berlin; Dublin; Jakarta, Indonesia; London; Mexico City; Paris; São Paulo; and the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul.
End the siege of Gaza now! End all U.S. funding of Israeli genocide!