Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1699278419

Thousands join DC pro-Palestine rally to demand ceasefire: Updates

Speaker accuses Biden of ‘dehumanising’ Palestinians and announces upcoming protests at RNC and DNC

Gustaf Kilander,John Bowden
Monday 06 November 2023 13:46 GMT
Thousands expected to attend pro-Palestine march in DC for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

Thousands of people joined a pro-Palestine rally in Washington DC calling for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza and the end of US aid to Israel on Saturday.

Aerial footage from Freedom Plaza showed a massive crowd listening to a number of speakers.

Hamas, the group in charge of Gaza which has been labelled a terror organisation by the US and the EU, launched an attack on Israel on 7 October, killing more than 1,400 people.

In the following counterattacks by Israel, at least 9,257 people in Gaza have been killed, with more than 23,516 wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry has said.

President Joe Biden, who came out strongly in support of Israel after the vicious attack by Hamas, called for a humanitarian “pause” on Wednesday but didn’t argue for a ceasefire.

The “National March on Washington: Free Palestine” is a chance for demonstrators to do just that.

The rally began at 2pm just to the east of the White House at the Western end of Pennsylvania Avenue.


VIDEO: Thousands expected to attend pro-Palestine march in DC for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

Thousands expected to attend pro-Palestine march in DC for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war
Gustaf Kilander4 November 2023 12:37

Pro-Palestine protest march row explained as thousands set to protest again in London

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestine protesters have attended marches across the UK since Israel renewed its attacks on Gaza in recent weeks.

Thousands are expected to march in London today, as a row has broken out over future demonstrations potentially disrupting Remembrance Day events and further action expected in the coming weeks.

Activists will descend on the capital for the third successive weekend calling for an immediate ceasefire due to Israel’s continued bombardment on the Gaza strip in retaliation for Hamas’s terror attack on Israel on 7 October.

Previous protests, and counter demonstrations, have come under scrutiny, with a small number of campaigners arrested for alleged hate crimes.

And on Friday, a row erupted when Rishi Sunak backed a crackdown on what he condemned as “provocative and disrespectful” pro-Palestine marches due to be held on Armistice Day.

Joe Middleton, Athena Stavrou4 November 2023 12:39

‘People are mortified by the carnage’

The ANSWER Coalition is one of the organizers of the march – its executive director Brian Becker told The Washington Post that “people are mortified by the carnage” in Gaza.

“And they are equally mortified that the Biden administration has insisted that there not be a cease-fire,” he added.

This comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Arab foreign ministers on Saturday to discuss options to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Mr Blinken’s options are limited by Israel’s insistence that no ceasefire or humanitarian pause can take place until all hostages taken by Hamas have been released.

Gustaf Kilander4 November 2023 13:01

Head of DC Jewish Community Center asks members to ‘resist the urge to counter-protest'

The chief executive officer of the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, Jen Zwilling, emailed the centre’s members on Friday to ask them ahead of the rally on Saturday to “resist the urge to counter-protest and/or engage” with the pro-Palestine demonstrators.

She noted that that may “increase the potential for violence or antisemitic rhetoric,” according to The Washington Post.

Gustaf Kilander4 November 2023 13:04

Rally part of effort to push Biden admin to call for ceasefire

The “Free Palestine” rally in Washington DC on Saturday is part of an effort to push the Biden administration to cease its deliveries of aid to Israel and to back a ceasefire.

Last month, Mr Biden announced an aid package to Israel – the largest recipient of US aid – worth $14bn. As of last year, Israel had received about $150bn, a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service stated.

A Quinnipiac University poll published on Thursday shows that about half of all registered voters in the US back Israel’s response to the 7 October Hamas attack.

Ahead of entering Gaza with ground troops, Israel destroyed large parts of Gaza with airstrikes, so far killing more than 9,000 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The lowest approval rating for Israel’s actions is seen among Democrats – 33 per cent, voters between 18 and 34 years old – 32 per cent, and Black voters – 29 per cent, according to Quinnipiac.

Fifty-one per cent of Americans back sending more military support to Israel and 71 per cent back sending humanitarian aid to Gaza to help Palestinian civilians.

Gustaf Kilander4 November 2023 13:17

Planned speakers include writer human rights lawyer

Organizers have said that ANSWER Coalition Executive Director Brian Becker is set to speak at the rally, as is human rights attorney and Rutgers University associated professor Noura Erakat, Palestinian writer and advocate Mohammed El-Kurd, as well as members of large US Muslim and Arab groups, The Washington Post notes.

Gustaf Kilander4 November 2023 13:20

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is growing as Blinken seeks support for a temporary cease-fire

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Arab foreign ministers Saturday to find ways to ease Gaza’s growing humanitarian crisis. His mission is complicated by Israel’s insistence there can be no temporary cease-fire until all hostages held by Hamas are released.

In unusually blunt language, the United Nations chief said conditions in Gaza are now “horrific” as fighting continues to escalate. With food, water and the fuel needed for generators that power hospitals and other facilities running out, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an immediate cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

“An entire population is traumatized, nowhere is safe,” he said Friday.

He said he had not forgotten the slaughter of civilians at the hands of Hamas militants when they launched their attack on Israel almost a month ago, but said civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. He also said civilians must not be used as human shields, and called upon Hamas to release all of the roughly 240 hostages it has.

Israeli forces have encircled Gaza City, and it has been urging civilians to head south to avoid getting caught up in the fighting as the ground war intensifies.

AP4 November 2023 13:38

Oxford Circus at standstill as hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters stage sit-in over ceasefire

Oxford Circus has come to a standstill after hundreds of protesters staged a sit-in for Palestine.

A huge crowd descended on the central London area at midday on Saturday, with protesters marching to the juction with Regent Street before blocking the road.

Palestinian flags were held aloft as others let off flares, played bongos and lead chants of “Ceasefire now”, “from the River to the Sea” and “Israel is a terror state”.

The event was organised by The Free Palestine Coalition which includes Black Lives Matter UK, Sisters Uncut and Black Jewish Alliance, who said there would be “no business as usual while Britain is supporting a genocide that has killed 9,000 people”. Organisers encouraged bystanders to join: “Don’t just stand there, sit down with us!”

The Metropolitan Police said officers are responding to the incident. It said: “This behaviour clearly impacts on London’s ability to function normally and we are working quickly to reopen the road.” Dozens of officers cordoned off the group and countless buses were stopped in their tracks with no room to turn around due to the sit-in.

Barney Davis, Maira Butt4 November 2023 14:00

Israel's military and Hezbollah exchange fire along the tense Lebanon-Israel border

Israeli warplanes conducted airstrikes along the border with Lebanon Saturday as the militant Hezbollah group attacked several Israeli army posts, including one that was struck with two large rockets.

The escalation came a day after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said his powerful group is already engaged in unprecedented fighting along the Lebanon-Israel border. He threatened a further escalation as Israel’s war in Gaza with Hamas, Hezbollah’s ally, nears the one-month mark.

Hezbollah is prepared for all options, Nasrallah declared, “and we can resort to them at any time.”

Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighters attacked at least six Israeli posts along the border, saying “suitable rockets and weapons” were used. It added that “direct hits were scored and technical equipment was destroyed.”

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV network reported that Hezbollah fired Saturday two Burkan rockets, which carry heavy warheads, at an Israeli post known in Lebanon as Jal al-Allam. A Lebanese security official confirmed the report of Burkan rockets being used for the first time.

Abby Sewell, Bassem Mroue4 November 2023 14:30

Blinken tries to cajole wary Arabs on support for post-conflict Gaza as Israel's war intensifies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stepped up his frantic diplomacy on Saturday, trying to build support for planning a post-conflict future for Gaza as he continued his second urgent mission to the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.

A day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointedly snubbed Blinken’s blunt warning that Israel risks losing any hope of an eventual peace deal with the Palestinians unless it eases the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, he met in Amman with senior Jordanian and other Arab officials, who remain angry and deeply suspicious of Israel as it intensifies its war against Hamas.

Blinken met first with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whose economically and politically ravaged country is home to Hezbollah — an Iranian-backed force hostile to Israel.

The U.S. has grave concerns that Hezbollah, which has already stepped up rocket and cross-border attacks on northern Israel, will take a more active role in the conflict.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave his first major speech since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the war, but did not forecast his group’s greater involvement despite professing it was not perturbed by U.S. attempts to deter it.

Matthew Lee4 November 2023 15:00

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in