January 10, 2009
Hundreds of thousands march to Let Gaza Live!
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
On Sat., Jan. 10, hundreds of cities, and hundreds of thousands of people, responded to the call for an International Day of Emergency Action to support the people of Gaza. Outside the United States, marches took place in London, Edinburgh, Cairo, Athens, Kuala Lumpur, Beirut, Seoul, Mexico City, Jakarta, Montreal, Paris, Barcelona, Marseilles, Lyon, Oslo, Berlin, Bern, Karachi, Nablus, New Delhi, Amman, Sarajevo, Ramallah, Stockholm, and Tokyo. The protests continue to grow -- today, another 250,000 took to the streets in Spain and more than 100,000 in Algeria.
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In the U.S., the Day of Action was initiated on just one week's notice by a call from the ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American Society Freedom, Free Palestine Alliance, National Council of Arab Americans, and Al-Awda - International Palestine Right to Return Coalition. In Washington DC, over 20,000 took to the streets in the freezing rain to demand, "Let Gaza Live!" The streets were so backed up that thousands of people in buses and cars were still arriving after the march had left Lafayette Park.
The demonstration began with a rally at the White House. Featured speakers included former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was just on a humanitarian relief mission attempting to bring supplies to Gaza when the boat she was on was intentionally struck by an Israeli military vessel; Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom; Rev. Graylan Hagler, National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice; Mounzer Sleiman, Vice Chairman, National Council of Arab Americans; Ralph Nader; Paul Zulkowitz, Jews Against the Occupation; Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice; and others.
The spirited march then led to the Washington Post, where demonstrators denounced the paper for its biased pro-Israeli coverage of the massacre and its complete blackout of protest activities in the United States.
In San Francisco, 10,000 took part in the march and rally. The rally included a huge outpouring from the local Arab community, and energetic participation from Bay Area youth.
A crowd of 2000 demonstrators confronted a heavy police presence in downtown Orlando for the "Let Gaza Live: Florida Statewide March for Palestine" called by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition/Florida—just six days prior. The demonstration is the largest anti-war demonstration in Florida in more than a decade and certainly the largest ever protest in Florida calling for a free Palestine. Police tried to intimidate marchers by initially searching all bags, forcing protesters to remove sticks from signs, and denying the use of amplified sound. Organizers and protesters challenged and pushed back their unwarranted scare tactics, and the protest turned out to be a powerful success.
In Los Angeles, 10,000 people participated in a regional mass march and rally to “Let Gaza Live” at the Westwood Federal Building. Hundreds of Palestinian flags and signs reading “Stop bombing Gaza!” and “The real terrorists: U.S./Israel war machine!” lined all sides of the street and the lawn in front of the federal government headquarters. It was the largest protest and the first major march in Southern California since the Israeli bombing campaign and invasion began.
A funeral procession led the march with makeshift coffins draped with Palestinian flags, representing the hundreds of people killed by Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza. Hundreds of children followed, along with a huge, hand-made Palestinian flag, in a contingent organized by the Palestinian American Women’s Association.
The worldwide movement is continuing to grow with more protests today, Jan. 11. There will be countless other actions in the days to come. Today in New York City, the police carried out a violent assault against those marching in mid-town Manhattan in support of the people of Palestine. A number of people were injured and arrested.
With the support of the United States, the Israeli military machine has expanded its invasion into urban areas of Gaza. The death toll among Palestinians is now nearly 900, with many thousands wounded. The injured and hungry of Gaza have no relief. We must do everything in our power to deepen and broaden this movement in the coming days.
Donate today so we can keep this movement growing
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated in the last week to help pay for the expenses for the many mass demonstrations that took place on Jan. 10. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of individuals who came forward to donate. We must go forward. The war is deepening. The death toll is climbing. We will be in the streets again in the next few days. Please continue to show your generosity and commitment and make a donation today by clicking this link.