In a show of solidarity for the Palestinian cause, approximately 2,000 individuals convened at Washington Square Park this Friday. The gathering, marked by a fervent call to end the Gaza occupation and dismantle the Israeli government, was a blend of protest and activism.
The demonstrators, amidst a sea of Palestinian flags and placards, voiced their discontent with Israel’s military actions in the Hamas-dominated region. Signs with messages such as “Free Palestine,” “Cease fire now,” and critical remarks about Israel’s military tactics were prominently displayed.
The protest took a unique turn as attendees urged a boycott of Black Friday, targeting companies with ties to Israel. The air was filled with chants like “1, 2, 3, 4, Occupation no more. 5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is a racist state,” and the contentious “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase scrutinized by the Anti-Defamation League.
Diverse organizations like the Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, and The People’s Forum were part of the rally. Manolo De Los Santos from The People’s Forum emphasized their unwavering support for Palestine and held Israel accountable for the conflict.
Layan Fuleihan, of The People’s Forum, critiqued the U.S. administration’s staunch backing of Israel, labelling the White House as complicit in the violence against Palestinians. Fuleihan pointed to recent protests, including those at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as a testament to their ongoing resistance.
In a contrasting scene, a smaller counter-protest voiced support for Israel, with participants remembering hostages taken by Hamas. Encounters between the two groups were tense but contained, as police maintained separation. The pro-Palestinian group later marched towards Macy’s on Sixth Avenue, continuing their chants against consumerism amidst conflict.
This demonstration in Manhattan comes in the wake of escalating global attention on the Israel-Hamas conflict, which intensified on Oct. 7 following a rocket attack. Recent developments include the release of hostages under a ceasefire agreement, highlighting the ongoing volatility in the region.