2009. január 4., vasárnap
Solidarity with Palestine
Many Thousands March for Gaza – as Invasion Begins
Largest protest in support of Palestinians ever in NYC
(January 4, 2009) Saturday saw sizable protests throughout the world against the bombing and invasion of Gaza. As the Israeli military began a massive ground invasion of Gaza, including infantry, tanks, and artillery, hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets around the world chanting "Free, Free Palestine!"
Possibly the largest protest took place in New York City where a huge rally in Times Square stretched from 42nd Street south to 36th Street, along 7th Ave. Buses came from throughout the region. Crowd estimates ranged from 25,000 and 30,000. Just before the demonstration started the announcement of the Israeli invasion came over the news wires. An angry march through midtown Manhattan, shut down 42nd St, stalled mid-town traffic and ended at the Israeli Mission to the U.N. At the closing rally, the crowd stretched from 48th to 42nd Street, along 2nd Ave.
Many of the organizers of today's rally, including Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition-NY; the Arab Muslim American Federation; MAS- Muslim American Society NY (Youth Center), National, Queens, NJ, Yonkers; GUPS - The General Union of Palestine Students; BAYAN-USA; Islamic Society of Bay Ridge; International Action Center; December 12 Movement; New York City Labor Against the War; Troops Out Now Coalition; Pakistan USA Freedom Forum; International League of Peoples Struggle; F.I.S.T.; and others, announced plans for a rally again next Sunday, January 11 in New York City's Times Square, beginning at 1 pm.
While much of the U.S. national media limited their coverage of world wide protests to Europe and the Middle East, the size of the New York protest clearly equaled or surpassed other protests. Ty Chandler, reporting at the scene of the protest for New York 1 TV, stated on camera near the Israeli Consulate "This massive crowd is still making its way up 2nd Ave., and you can see the anger and frustration on their face, this crowd is huge, it goes for blocks."
In Boston, about 1500 people took to the streets to protest the US/Israeli Genocide in Gaza. Chanting "Free, Free Palestine", "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will Free", "We Support the Resistance" the demonstrators marched through main shopping area of downtown Boston, stopping at the US Military Recruiters and the Israeli Consulate for mini rallies. The demonstration, called by an ad-hoc coalition formed to protest the US/Israeli massacres in Gaza, was led by a militant contingent of Palestinian youth.
In Atlanta, hundreds turned out for a protest in front of CNN, with 2 black caskets draped with Palestinian flags, and more than 100 signs with the names of people who have died in the assault.
More than 500 marched in Charlotte, North Carolina, where protesters, with Palestinian & Muslim youth at the forefront, took over downtown Charlotte with a sea of Palestinian flags & energetic chants.
Around 1,000 people stretched across the steps in front of Philadelphia's City Hall for a rally targeting U.S. funding for the Israeli war against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The crowd predominantly Palestinians, youthful, and militant.
Chants targeted the terrorist nature of Israel's bombing in Gaza. Speakers linked budget cuts in Philadelphia that will close 11 libraries to U.S. funding of Israeli bombs being dropped on elementary schools. Passing motorists honked in support.
Behind a lead banner that read "War is Terrorism with a Bigger Budget - Stop U.S.-Israeli War on Palestinians" demonstrators marched through the Center City shopping area to the Federal Building and FOX News, stopping for occasional mini-rallies to explain what the protest was about to people who gathered to listen along the way.
At least 10,000 people gathered at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square to protest against Israel's recent assault on Gaza. Protesters then marched through the streets of Toronto to the Israeli Consulate and the United States Embassy.
Thousands took to the streets in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Athens and several Asian cities, following similar events in parts of the Muslim world on Friday. In London, protesters, including former mayor Ken Livingstone, marched to Trafalgar Square, chanting, "Free, free Palestine" and "Israel terrorists!" Many stopped at Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence, to throw shoes at the gates, following the example of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush last month.
As these marches were taking place, the media announced that the Israeli military had begun a massive ground invasion of Gaza. This invasion follows a week of continuous bombing that has killed at least 453 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000. According to the U.N., at more than one quarter of those killed in the current conflict have been civilians.
The situation of the 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into the Gaza Strip - one of the most densely populated areas on the planet - grows more desperate. Humanitarian agencies warned that water, food and medical supplies were running short. And now the people of Gaza are facing a brutal and merciless attack by infantry, artillery, and tanks.