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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Pro-Palestinian rally around White House starts in Washington

Thousands of protesters have started marching down the central streets of the US capital of Washington, DC to protest against the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the US support for Israel, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.

The protesters are expected to walk around the White House and return to the Freedom Plaza, where the rally has been ongoing since 2pm EST(6pm GMT).

The rally, dubbed “National March on Washington. Free Palestine”, has become the largest pro-Palestinian rally in the United States since protests began in the country after Israel launched a military operation in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Cities across the US have seen multiple mass protests since the start of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Every day activists approach congresspeople with calls to address the situation and urge a ceasefire. Almost every day, mass rallies, often with dozens and even hundreds arrested, are held across the country.

The Saturday rally in Washington DC has become the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration of all, the Sputnik correspondent reported. People continued showing up an hour into the rally. Large groups of people carrying Palestinian flags and pro-Palestinian banners were seen moving down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the main location of the rally.

The organisers said they expected some 30,000 people to take part in the pro-Palestine rally.

At around 3pm EST, the rally grew way beyond its gathering point at Freedom Plaza. Several closed adjacent streets were flooded with the participants, and more people were arriving.

The participants were holding banners reading, “Resistance against the occupation is a human right,” “Stop the Palestinian genocide,” “Israel bombs hospitals, Biden funds it,” “Biden, we will remember in November [of 2024],” “Stop the war.”

The crowd included representatives of dozens of American activist groups, including renowned Jewish Voice For Peace and ANSWER Coalition and Code Pink, among others, as well as regular residents of the area and other US states. Many held flags and wore Palestine’s traditional pieces of clothing.

Many local residents brought with them small children who were asking parents questions about the event, and the Sputnik correspondent overheard the adults explaining why people were frustrated with the US government’s support for Israel’s military operation.

The protest was peaceful; however, there was an increased police presence. The central streets where the protesters were expected to march were shut to the traffic. The local authorities advised the residents about street closures days before the rally. Trucks were parked in some streets to ensure the blockage of the roads.

Several large screens were installed along Pennsylvania Avenue for people to watch and listen to the rally. People who could not attend the rally could watch the live broadcast online via links posted by activist groups. Multiple international media were covering the protest. Many participants carried flags of their own countries that also oppose the fighting in Gaza, including Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.

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