In Protests

Original article posted: link

Roughly 1,000 demonstrators marched in support of Palestinians through the Foggy Bottom Campus on Saturday amid a procession from the White House to the State Department.

Demonstrators called for President Joe Biden’s administration to take accountability for its role in the killing of Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war as well as a cease-fire and an end to American aid of Israel. The march led Metropolitan Police Department units to close F and 23rd streets while some GW students observed the march from sidewalks.

The march came the day after Israel escalated its ground assault on the Gaza Strip, sending tanks into the region Thursday and dispatching soldiers for a ground incursion. The Israeli attack coincided with a near-total blackout of internet and communication service through the weekend in Gaza, which some U.S. officials believe was an intentional act from Israeli officials to slash communication in the region, according to a New York Times report.

The moves follow Israel’s three-week bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas — a Palestinian militant group that the U.S. and European Union consider a terrorist organization — launching a surprise attack on Israel earlier this month that killed more than 1,400 people. The Israeli military’s response has led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza as Israeli forces blasts apartment buildings, shelters and mosques, displacing nearly half of Gaza’s population. More than 8,000 Palestinians, mostly women and minors, have been killed during Israel’s attack, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Many pro-Palestinian demonstrators have argued that Israel’s counterattack on Gaza is a continuation of 75 years of oppression stemming from the displacement of more than 750,000 Palestinians who called the region home for decades, following the establishment of Israel in 1948.

More than 500 people first convened at the north end of Lafayette Square at 2 p.m., many grasping Palestinian flags. Local, pro-Palestinian groups, like the Palestinian Youth Movement and Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at GW and George Mason University, organized the rally.

The crowd, ranging from children to adults, reached GW’s campus by 4:30 p.m., heading west on F Street. Attendees held signs reading “Time for ceasefire is now” and “Free Palestine.”

Upon entering campus, the march passed Thurston Hall before reaching 1918 F Street, where University President Ellen Granberg’s office is located, and the F Street House, where she lives. One demonstrator stood on the steps of the F Street House holding a Palestinian flag and sign calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.

Two protesters confronted apparent members of Zeta Beta Tau, a Jewish fraternity, who were watching the rally from in front of the fraternity’s townhouse on the corner of F and 22nd streets, according to video posted online. One demonstrator held his middle finger up toward Zeta Beta Tau members while waving a Palestinian flag before people in neon safety vest who appeared to be protest security escorted him away. It’s unclear what spurred the dispute.

Protesters continued west on F Street, chanting “no more funds for Israel’s strikes” and pausing in front of Guthridge Hall. The crowd turned left to push south on 23rd Street, which prompted MPD cars to stop traffic on the street in front of Shenkman Hall.

The march stopped at the State Department building and chanted “Blinken, Blinken you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “Blinken, Blinken you’re a liar, we demand a cease-fire” in reference to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has voiced support for Israel.

Demonstrators concluded the rally, and the crowd dispersed at roughly 5:15 p.m.

Fiona Bork, Fiona Riley and Zach Blackburn contributed reporting.

This post was updated to correct the following:

A previous version of this post misspelled Blinken’s name. We regret this error.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search