Protesters rallied across the U.S. in support of Palestinians

More than 90 events were planned for the weekend
Originally Published: 22 MAY 21 03:09 ET
Updated: 22 MAY 21 20:43 ET

(CNN) — Protesters rallied in cities across the United States on Saturday in support of Palestinians, days after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire ending the latest round of violence and bloodshed in a decades-long conflict.

More than 90 events were planned for the weekend, including rallies in New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland.

Protesters showed support for Palestinians and accused the Israeli government of using disproportionate force and indiscriminately bombing densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. The Israeli government has accused Hamas of launching rocket attacks from those population centers.

Israeli airstrikes, which began on May 10, killed at least 248 people in Gaza, including 66 children, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health. Twelve people in Israel, including two children, died as a result of militant fire from Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces and Israel’s emergency service.

Other parts of the region have seen violence, too. Protests and mob violence, including attempted lynchings, have been reported in Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday.

Dana Barqawi, 33, says she attended a rally with family and friends in Philadelphia.

“I joined the protest for my parents, for my grandparents, and for my great grandparents who never stopped fighting for their freedom and right to return to Palestine,” she told CNN. “I joined to be a voice for every Palestinian brother and sister who is being silenced.”

“The people that showed up today know that a ceasefire doesn’t end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine,” Barqawi added.

Barqawi said she hopes the protests will inspire more people to learn about the conflict and hold their leaders accountable.

Pam Spees, a human rights attorney in New York, says she attended a protest in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens.

Spees decided to attend “because the human rights situation for Palestinians is unbearable,” she told CNN.

In a video Spees posted on Twitter, a motorcycle with a large Palestinian flag on the back can be seen revving its engine as marchers cheered in support.

“The mood is energetic and people seem happy to be together,” she told CNN. “Even traffic stopped along the way had been supportive. Honking in support and getting out of cars to cheer the marchers.”

In North Carolina, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Raleigh, with many calling for an end to US military aid to Israel, CNN affiliate WRAL reported. Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II.

More than 30 social justice organizations cosponsored the event, according to the event’s Facebook page.

“A ceasefire does not constitute justice for Palestinians who are still living under Israeli settler-colonialism,” the organizers said on Facebook.

A rally in Houston, Texas, saw roughly between 3,000 and 4,000 people, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner told CNN affiliate KTRK.

In a video, protesters can be heard chanting in support of Palestinians. Some carried placards that read “Decolonize Palestine” and “We don’t want ceasefire. We want human rights. We want justice.”

Finner told KTRK the protesters were peaceful. “We told organizers that as long as they’re not assaulting people, tearing up property, we’ll march with them. And that’s not in support of one side or the other. It’s on the side of allowing people to exercise their Constitutional right,” he said.

Protests in the US coincided with similar events across the globe. Marches were held in London, Australia and Canada, among other countries.

Additional protests are expected to take place on Sunday.

The-CNN-Wire
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