“Americans are better than this,” Maura Yasin,53,of Falls Church,Va.,said. “Humanity is better than this.”
Yasin,a real estate agent,was one of thousands of protesters from across the country who gathered in front of the White House chanting to “free Palestine” and end the war with Gaza. They also called for the U.S. to end aid to Israel. Congress recently signed off on $225 million in aid to the country before beginning a five-week recess.
The protest was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and co-sponsored by a number of Arab-American,Muslim-American and peace organizations.
“All over the United States,there’s a change taking place,” Brian Becker,ANSWER’s national coordinator,said. “The American people no longer want to have their taxpayer money go for genocide against Palestinians.”
Palestinian civilians make up the largest share of causalities in the Gaza conflict. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Israeli Defense Forces,of 1,622 people who have died,1,054 are Palestinian civilians.
Protesters marched from the White House through downtown Washington,making stops at the Washington Post,which Becker called a propaganda machine with an editorial vision that promotes the Israeli occupation of Gaza. They also marched past the Washington office of Caterpillar Corp. – whose corporate policies he said provide Israel with the tools to demolish Palestinian homes and destroy their agricultural capabilities.
From there,the protesters headed to the Capitol.
President Barack Obama was also under attack at the rally.
“His drones have killed 233 innocent children and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza,” professor and civil rights activist Cornel West said,referring to the aid the U.S. gives to Israel.
Postcards were distributed during the rally so protesters could write messages to the president, and one speaker gave out the White House telephone number,urging participants to call it.
But Saturday’s rally was only the beginning,Becker said.
“We’re going to hear Muslims,Christians,Jews,people of different political persuasions,” Becker said. “We have formed a very broad coalition. Today is not the end at all. It’s the beginning of a new day – a mass movement,a grassroots movement – and we will turn the tide.”
Reach reporter Erin Bell at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.