WASHINGTON, D.C.— Protesters gathered in cities around the world in response to the global call to “Shut It Down For Palestine.” From Kent, United Kingdom, to Vancouver, British Columbia, to Philadelphia, people took to the streets calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Protesters occupied the lobby of The New York Times, accusing the media of biased reporting toward Israel. In D.C., protesters gathered at the State Department to express their rage at the rising death toll in Gaza. Close to 11,000 men, women and children have been killed and tens of thousands more injured by Israeli strikes.
Ahlam is a Palestinian organizer, who didn’t want to give her last name for security reasons. She was at the State Department demonstration held Nov. 9. “I’m here because it can’t be business as usual, so long as they’re continuing to commit genocide against our people. Our people deserve to be free. Our people deserve to live and to love and to dream just like anybody else. We’re here to continue to shut it down until they let that happen,” she told The Final Call.
“We want a ceasefire,” Ahlam continued. “Nothing can happen until there’s not bombs raining on kids’ heads. After that, stop U.S. aid, U.S. military aid and any kind of aid to the Zionist state because our money is funding their crimes. It has been for 75 years. We don’t want to give another dollar to the Zionist state. We need retraction of all of the statements and all of the Islamic media, all of the anti-Palestinian racism that has happened over the last month, and honestly for the last 25, 35, 75 years,” she added.
Crozier, originally from Utah and who also went by one name for security reasons, traveled from Virginia to the State Department after protesting the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project. He told The Final Call, “There’s a siege right now on Palestine. Israel’s massacring people, a lot of innocent people are being killed in retaliation for a terrorist attack from Hamas. We do not condone that. I don’t condone that, but the siege on Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine as a whole is completely awful. It’s genocidal.
“Hundreds and thousands of people are dying,” Crozier added. “Many children, innocent children, are being killed. It’s unacceptable. The United States military is giving Israel aid and weapons. We have a lot of American companies that sell weapons to Israel. I’m here to tell those in the State Department and Biden, and Antony Blinken, that we do not want to be complicit in that. Israel needs to immediately cease fire on Palestine.”
“Shut It Down for Palestine” was organized by a coalition that includes the Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, and the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition. The Palestinian Youth Movement posted on social media, “We, are calling on movements, trade unions, youth, students, media, healthcare workers, and all members of society to demand an immediate ceasefire, cutting all aid to the Zionist project and lifting the siege on Gaza NOW!”
“NOW is the moment in history for the world to take action against the genocide of Palestinians and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people towards our path to liberation. Continue building momentum and increase pressure by joining the national shutdown for Palestine.”
The coalition encouraged people around the world to get involved with walkouts, sit-ins, speak-outs, and all forms of protest directed at the Zionist institutions that fund, invest, and collaborate with Israel’s genocide and occupation of Palestinians.
The sit-in at The New York Times was led by media workers calling themselves “Writers Bloc.” While in the lobby of the building they read the names of thousands of Palestinians killed in Gaza, including at least 36 journalists killed while reporting in Gaza.
Protesters also distributed copies of a fake newspaper—“The New York War Crimes.” That publication accused the media of “complicity in laundering genocide.” They demanded The Times’ editorial board publicly back a ceasefire.
Across the pond in Rochester, Kent, about 30 miles from London, protesters blocked the entrances to a BAE systems (a British multinational arms, security and aerospace company) factory. They accused the company of supplying arms to Israel.
Workers for a Free Palestine told the media, “BAE Systems produces Israel’s F-35 fighter jets, currently being used by Israel to bombard Gaza. The targeting systems used by pilots is made by BAE Systems Rochester. Today, we have shut it down!”
Back at the State Department, Dante Augustine originally from Haiti but now living in Brooklyn told The Final Call, he was there because children were dying, and mothers are having C-sections without anesthesia.
“This is an injustice. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. The youth are standing up against the powers that be. They’ve spoken truth to power and they’re not alone. They have angels with them. These are the people from the most sacred place on earth where Prophet Muhammad received prayers,” said Dante Augustine.
“This is a holy war. This is to crush the Muslim once and for all,” he said. “How can you drop bomb on a hospital? That’s a war crime. How can you drop bomb on a mosque? That’s a war crime. How can you bomb church? That’s a war crime.” —Nisa Islam Muhammad, Staff Writer, and Khabir Muhammad contributed to this article.