Tens of thousands of protestors on Saturday marched in Washington, D.C. to protest in support of Palestinians and against the Israeli siege on Gaza.
The protestors, who converged at Freedom Plaza near the White House, voiced support for a ceasefire, which most American politicians have shied away from even as the body count in Gaza has surpassed 9,000 Palestinians on Thursday, according to the Gaza health ministry. President Biden on Wednesday called for a humanitarian pause to provide aid to Palestinians, which critics say isn’t enough to meaningfully mitigate the ongoing suffering in Gaza.
“The language that President Biden and his party understands is the language of votes in the 2023 elections and our message is: No cease fire, no votes,” Nihad Awad, a Palestinian-American and national executive director at Council on American-Islamic Relations and said to the crowd at the protest, according to USA Today. The crowd cheered in response. “No votes in Michigan, no votes in Arizona, no votes in Georgia, no votes in Nevada, no votes in Wisconsin, no votes in Pennsylvania,” he continued, listing swing states that will be important in the 2024 presidential election.
The rhetoric matched a similar statement Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) made in a video on Friday.
“Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people,” Tlaib, the sole Palestinian-American Member of Congress, said in the video. “The American people won’t forget. Biden, support a ceasefire now. Or don’t count on us in 2024.”
At other points the crowd cheered “Free Palestine” and “Ceasefire now,” and many waived Palestinian flags and wore keffiyehs—the checkered scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian sovereignty—according to the Guardian.
A huge international crowd came out of nowhere, bringing thousands more to the March on Washington.— Prem Thakker (@prem_thakker) November 4, 2023
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“From Palestine to Puerto Rico, occupation is illegal!” pic.twitter.com/2Sa7dfiHbf
The protest coincided with similar large protests around the world, including London, Berlin, Paris, Ankara, and Istanbul. Protestors also launched massive demonstrations last week. More than ten thousand gathered in New York City last week and staged a sit-in inside of Grand Central Station, while tens of thousands marched in London, making similar demands.