WASHINGTON, D.C.—People around the world continue taking to the streets to support Palestine and calling for an immediate ceasefire by Israel in its bombardment of Gaza. Millions of people gathered in the United Kingdom to cities in Europe (Paris and Berlin), in Latin America (Santiago, Chile; and Caracas, Venezuela), in Indonesia, Turkey (Ankara and Istanbul), and in major U.S. cities.
The weekend of November 4, saw major American protests in cities like Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York, and the nation’s capital. It was reportedly the largest turnout in D.C. of supporters for Palestine as an estimated 300,000 convened in Freedom Plaza.
The March on Washington for Palestine’s organizers included the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), U.S. Palestinian Community Network, National Students for Justice in Palestine, the ANSWER Coalition. Over 450 organizations endorsed the march, calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to all U.S. aid to Israel, and an end to the over 16-year siege on Gaza.
“For the past four weeks we have witnessed the horrific slaughter of our people in Gaza by the Israeli occupation take place with complete support of the Biden administration. This massacre must end today, and we are here to ensure that Israel and its partners in genocide are held accountable,” said Yara Shoufani of the Palestinian Youth Movement.
Brian Becker is a veteran activist and the executive director of the ANSWER Coalition. He said, “This is a truly global movement involving millions of people speaking out for justice. The U.S. government has blood on its hands. But while the Biden administration speaks in our name, he does not represent the views of the majority of people in this country.”
March speakers also included celebrities like rapper Macklemore who said, “I don’t know everything, but I know enough that this is a genocide.”
“We have been taught to just be complicit, to protect our careers, to protect our interests,” he said. “I’m not gonna do it anymore, I’m not afraid to speak the truth;”
The crowd was filled with people who came from far and near to lift their voices in protest to what many are calling genocide in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli Defense Force. People are shocked at the growing number of civilian casualties. As of The Final Call press time close to 10,000 Palestinians have been killed and tens of thousands more injured.
People raised concerns that refugee camps and hospitals had been bombed. People have lost entire families with some as many as 40 relatives killed and the bombs continue.
Students for Justice in Palestine has chapters across the country. Members of the Hampton University chapter attended the march in D.C. One member told The Final Call, “We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters dealing with the struggle overseas. Our entire theoretical framework is aligned with the Palestinian struggle. We understand that Black struggle is inherent and integral to the Palestinian struggle as we stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers.”
“We understand that it’s settler colonialism happening over there. We have lived in the past 450 years in the settler colonial state of the United States of America that has enslaved Black people and diminished the Indigenous population. We understand that the liberation of our Palestinian people would also lead to the liberation of our peoples.”
The students are concerned that the U.S. military is using Black students and other Black people as part of the U.S. war machine.
“American-made weapons and drones are being used in Palestine, are being used in Ethiopia, Central and West Africa as well. They are also in Central and South America. We understand that the struggle happens worldwide and when we take down one part of the beast, another part of the beast also gets damaged,” the student said.
Katie McDonald is from London but has lived in the U.S. for almost six years. “You can see how powerful this can be. When communities come together, you see it’s not just Black, White or Palestinians here, it’s everyone,” she told The Final Call. “Everyone’s here for the same reason. Everyone’s here because they want to stop evil in the world. I think just by coming to these sorts of things, they can create space in our hearts to want to celebrate as a community,” Ms. McDonald added.
“The United States is powerful. They’re very involved, whether they want to admit it or not. Politics aside, I think anyone can admit that this is wrong, what’s happening with Gaza. I think the U.S. needs to take this into account and realize that the people don’t support their actions.”
For the many who could not attend protests around the world, Roblox, the online game platform popular among preteens and teens, has become the site for virtual marches. Several videos of a protest on Roblox could be found on X (Twitter). Avatars were seen holding Palestinian flags and marching together in the virtual world.
In Istanbul, protesters heard an hour-long speech from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He told the massive crowd that for 22 days Israel was guilty of war crimes. “The main culprit behind the massacre unfolding in Gaza is the West,” he said. “All the Western countries are giving unconditional support to the attacks rather than calling Israel to return to common sense as if they had agreed to say the same thing.”
“We will introduce Israel as a war criminal,” he said. “I want to ask, how many women, how many children are to die further?”
It’s estimated that up to two million people protested in Jakarta, Indonesia. Evi Murniyati, 55, traveled with friends from their home outside Jakarta, to the capital. She told The Straits Times that she wished she could fly to Palestine to cook and care for the orphaned children.
“As a mother and woman, my heart shattered into a million pieces when I saw the children who lost their homes, parents, and even their lives. Why them? They are innocent.”
According to a press statement by D.C. march organizers, “there was a resounding call by both speakers and the hundreds of thousands of participants to continue mobilizing and building momentum and they called for participation in an internationally-coordinated day of disruption on Thursday, November 9 titled “Shut it Down for Palestine!”
Nasser Muhammad contributed to this report.