Palestine Protest: Millions Take to the Streets in Global Solidarity

Jordan Meadows

Staff Writer

On Saturday, global demonstrations erupted as millions took to the streets in solidarity with humanitarian efforts in Palestine amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The protests were orchestrated by the Shut It Down 4 Palestine Coalition, sponsored by various groups and organizations.

The protest in Raleigh, involving approximately 1,000 predominantly younger participants, kicked off on South Blount Street, circled the Capitol building, and proceeded down South Dawson Street to West Martin Street. Simultaneous protests occurred in Asheville and Charlotte on the same day.

Marchers showcased shirts and signs expressing support for Palestinians, with messages like “End All U.S. Aid To Israel,” “Ceasefire Now!” and “Free Palestine.” 

Much of the vocal opposition during the demonstration centered on President Biden’s explicit backing of Israel, despite his call for a temporary ceasefire and the U.S. supplying airdrops of aid to Gaza over the weekend. 

In late February, President Biden secured victory in the Michigan Democratic Primary but faced a notable setback, losing over 100,000 votes to “Uncommitted” following a campaign by Arab-Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the Administration’s handling of the Gaza conflict.

The protest’s core message was encapsulated in the slogan of the organizers, “Global Day of Action: Hands Off Rafah!” This slogan refers to Israel’s anticipated military movement into Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, where over 1.5 million people, more than half of Gaza’s population, are estimated to be sheltering.

The protests coincided with the grim milestone of over 30,000 deaths in Gaza since the conflict began in October. 

Across the U.S., demonstrations unfolded in major cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Numerous university students also participated at Columbia, MIT, and Duke.

Marchers distributed brochures bearing the title “Workers Must Unite Against Genocide!” These pamphlets outlined the humanitarian needs in the conflict-ridden area in a manner designed to strike a chord with the local community: pointing out that the size of Gaza is smaller than the city of Raleigh but accommodates a population over four times larger.

On Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris called for an immediate ceasefire ahead of her meeting with Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war Cabinet. Negotiations for a new hostage deal between Israel and Hamas are ongoing in Egypt, with hopes of reaching an agreement by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10th.

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