In a powerful display of solidarity with the Palestinian people, thousands gathered in cities across America this weekend to protest against the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Over 12,000 protestors in Chicago and thousands in Dearborn took to the streets to peacefully draw attention to the plight of Palestinians and call for an end to the violence that has escalated in recent days.
In Chicago, demonstrators converged at Daley Plaza, waving Palestinian flags and holding signs with slogans like “Free Palestine” and “Stop the Violence.” Chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” resonated throughout the square. The crowd included people of diverse backgrounds, united in their support for Palestinian rights. Speakers at the event highlighted the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the forced displacement of Palestinians, and the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Samiha, 25, a medical student who did not wish to give her last name, attended with her friends and made her sign at home. “I want our world leaders to stop Israel’s planned genocide of Palestinians”
In metro Detroit, a similarly impassioned gathering in light rain occurred in Dearborn where over 1000 marched through the main thoroughfare. This was one of several protests all week here. Protesters demanded an immediate end to the illegal Israeli occupation and siege of Gaza. The event featured powerful speeches from community leaders, who shared personal stories of the impact of the conflict on their families and loved ones.
David Finkel, from the Jewish Voices for Peace, spoke at the Dearborn event, asking the government to “Stop the siege of Gaza, end the occupation and Israeli apartheid. Free Palestine!”
People of all ages and backgrounds attended the events despite the inclement weather. Many police officers were present, but the crowd remained peaceful. The police chief and mayor of Dearborn are both Muslim Americans and had issued statements in support of Gazans and made the security of their local residents a priority.
Social media played a significant role in mobilizing these protests, with activists using platforms like Whats App, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram to share news, coordinate events, and amplify their message.
Ali Hammoud, 41, from Dearborn, stated that “I heard about the rally and get my news through whats app, I can’t trust anything on CNN or Fox, they are filled with propaganda against Arabs and Muslims”
Notably absent from these rallies and protests were non-Arab elected officials, many of whom have been silent about the plight of Palestinians. Instead, lawmakers have attempted to censure lawmakers who are Muslim or Arab, such as Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, State Rep Abraham Aiyash and State Rep Farhat Abbas for speaking against human rights abuses by Israel.