Special to Workers World
Mass demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine are continuing across the U.S., many honoring the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Nov. 29 and others held during “tree lighting” events.
Hundreds demonstrated in Center City Philadelphia on a rainy evening Dec. 3. Called by the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition, the event started with a rally and prayer service in Rittenhouse Park, followed by a march that ended at 40th and Market streets for a solidarity rally with the Save UC Townhomes Coalition.
Two sound trucks led the way, followed by lead banners calling out the murderous genocide, carried out by Israel but funded by the U.S., that has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Along the route, protesters stopped to call out two Zionist-run restaurants.
They marched by the University of Pennsylvania campus, where activist students are under attack by university trustees with major investments in Israel. Last week, UPenn administrators threatened disciplinary action against Penn Chavurah, a progressive Jewish student group whose members defied restrictions against screening the documentary film “Israelism.”
The final stop was at the former site of University City Townhomes, an affordable housing project where the residents have been subject to mass evictions by developers who serve on UPenn’s board. Speakers drew the connection between the constant evictions of low-income Black and Brown residents of affordable housing communities and the Palestinians being pushed off their land.
Once again Palestinians in Northeast Ohio demonstrated their solidarity with Gaza, demanding an end to Israel’s genocide. The latest protest, called by Al-Awda Cleveland, took place Dec. 2 in Westlake, a suburb of Cleveland nicknamed “Little Palestine.” Chants included, “October 7 is not the date, we’ve been fighting since ’48,” and “Twisted lies and corrupt news, we fight Zionists, not the Jews.”
Thousands of people were in the streets of New York City Nov. 29 to demand an end to the genocide in Gaza. People protested at a demonstration organized by Within Our Lifetime during the yearly Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. The police initially attacked the participants but were forced to move back and open up the street to allow for a larger gathering space.
The gathering site was in front of Fox News, and then the demonstrators took to the streets to let people know that during this holiday season, their tax dollars are being used to massacre Palestinians.
One of the most popular chants was “Israel bombs, USA pays, how many kids did you kill today?” They also chanted, “Genocide Joe has got to go.”
In NYC, there are at least two demonstrations happening every day, often with bridges being shut down.
Houston: three days of solidarity
Responding to the call to Shut It Down for Palestine, Houston activists gathered on multiple bridges across Houston highway 59 on Nov 29, hanging banners demanding a permanent cease-fire and an end to the siege on Gaza and denouncing the ongoing genocide in Palestine.
Activists with the Palestinian Youth Movement and Students for Justice in Palestine at Rice University and the University of Houston held a dynamic teach-in followed by a poetry session on Nov. 30. Hundreds packed the venue, spilling outside onto the driveway as they snapped and cheered and chanted. The Palestinian poetry was dramatic, horrifying and inspiring, and the crowd was electrified by the originality and reality it presented.
On Dec. 1, Houston activists disrupted Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Holiday Spectacular Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Hall under the theme “Make Palestine Unavoidable!” With lots of huge Palestinian flags, banners and bullhorns, the protest was what was “spectacular.”
Children in Portland March for Palestine
“We want justice! You say how? End the siege on Gaza now!” Chants like this one have become a common refrain across the globe. The difference was that this time, on Dec.2 in Portland, Oregon, it was led by kids.
That day the local organization Mothers For a Cease-fire called a children’s march. After impassioned, tearful speeches and radical poetry, youngsters armed with megaphones led hundreds of families through the rain to the home of U.S. House Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). Correctly identifying the United States’ critical role in enabling Israel’s crimes, the children sang, explicitly called out Biden’s and Blumenauer’s culpability in genocide and left stuffed toys on the sidewalk as a painful reminder of children being murdered in Gaza by the Zionist state.
Five-year-old Bodhi commented that, “Lots of people are destroying Palestine” and said he talks with his friends about the events occurring there. Bodhi’s message to his government is to “stop sending guns to Israel.”
A young girl named Ofelia, when asked what is happening in Palestine, understood that the struggle is not a new one. It didn’t begin on Oct. 7. Ofelia stated that her teacher, who is Jewish, said that it was important to discuss the topic and that everyone in the class agreed. When asked about her message to the U.S. government, she held up her sign reading “Fund schools, not genocide.”
Toni Arenstein, Martha Grevatt, Maddi Johnson, Betsey Piette and Gloria Rubac contributed to this article.
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