CHICAGO — Thousands of people marched through Downtown streets Sunday in support of Palestinians, a repeat of a huge march last week after violence escalated in the Gaza Strip. Organizers said similar protests will be held each week to show solidarity.
The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine organized the massive march, which began at 1 p.m. Sunday at Michigan Avenue and Ida B. Wells Drive. Protesters decried Israel’s military strikes in Gaza and called for Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories to end.
The crowd then traveled north on Michigan, south on State Street and ending again at Wells Drive. Streets were shut down in the area during the march.
The latest outbreak of violence in the region began in east Jerusalem in April, when Palestinians clashed with police in response to Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers, according to the Associated Press.
Since then, at least 188 Palestinians have been killed in the hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 people wounded. Eight people in Israel have been killed in some of 3,100 rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, the Associated Press reports.
A building containing the offices for the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other media outlets was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike Saturday afternoon, CNN reports. The Israel Defense Forces said the building contained “Hamas military intelligence assets.”
The Chicago Coalition for Justice In Palestine, the group that organized the protest, includes Al Nahda Center, American Muslims for Palestine-Chicago, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, Students for Justice in Palestine-Chicago, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network-Chicago.
Palestinian Amir Toumie, who came to Chicago a few months ago to complete his doctoral studies, said groups will be organizing protests in solidarity with Palestinians every week as they reject violence that amounts to “ethnic cleansing.”
“All Palestinians are united today and in the future for the freedom of Palestine, for equality, and for the liberation of all,” Toumie said.
Toumie said he’s in contact with his family there, as they fight a battle “for the existence of Palestinians and their homeland.”
“This is different this time. Everyone is more united. Everyone is helping each other. We have to be together in order to fight — always,” Toumie said.
More photos from the protest:
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