Rejecting police intimidation and the lies of every major imperialist government, millions of people around the world participated in mass demonstrations over the weekend demanding an end to the US and NATO-backed Israeli genocide against Gaza.
Mass outrage is growing with each war crime committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Hospitals, churches, residential buildings and the last remaining bakery in northern Gaza have been targeted by the IDF, with over 4,700 Palestinians killed in the last two weeks. This includes nearly 2,000 children. Some 1,400 people are missing, with many feared dead under the rubble.
The past 24 hours have been the deadliest since the Israeli bombardment began on October 7, with more than 400 killed. Al Jazeera, citing the Palestinian news agency Wafa, reported that “at least 25 Israeli air attacks were recorded on residential areas in the Palestinian territory.”
According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 Palestinians are now categorized as “internally displaced persons.” Hundreds of thousands have packed into UN sheltering facilities, which are severely overcrowded.
Israel is bombarding not only northern Gaza, but southern Gaza as well, including the border crossing city of Rafah. More than a dozen people were killed in one airstrike on a house in Rafah on Sunday, including children. There are also reports that Israel is carrying out raids in the occupied West Bank.
Following the Israeli bombing of a hospital last week, which killed nearly 500, the IDF has sent bombs in the vicinity of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Al-Quds Hospital. The Netanyahu government has demanded that all hospitals in the north shut down, which would mean a death sentence for many receiving critical care.
On Saturday, Palestinians still remaining north of the Wadi Gaza river awoke to thousands of leaflets being dropped by the Israeli Air Force. The leaflets warned that their “presence North of Wadi Gaza is putting your lives at risk.”
It added, “Anyone who chooses not to evacuate from the North of the Gaza Strip to the South of the Gaza Strip may be identified as a partner in a terrorist organization.” In other words, anyone not willing or able to leave behind their home, or one of the few remaining functioning hospitals, is subject to slaughter by the IDF.
300,000 demonstrate in London against Israel’s war on Gaza
The largest anti-war demonstration in Britain since 2003, when over a million protested the illegal invasion of Iraq, saw 300,000 people march and rally in London Saturday against Israel’s war on Gaza.
The march assembled at Park Lane and proceeded through central London, ending with a rally in Whitehall, where the prime minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, is located.
The march was so big that in the middle of the rally it was announced from the stage that the left and right part of the demonstration in Whitehall would have to go into nearby Parliament Square to prevent a possible crush, as so many were still arriving from Trafalgar Square.
The turnout was despite London being deluged by Storm Babet during the afternoon and restrictions on transport in the capital. At some points demonstrators were walking through several inches of rain on the streets. The march would have been even larger had not trains and other transport from the north of England been halted due to flooding and landslides.
The police ludicrously still tried to claim it was smaller than last week’s 150,000-strong demonstration, saying that around that 100,000 attended. This vast playing down of its size was faithfully repeated by the media, including the Guardian.
Young people, students and workers carried the Palestinian flag and chanted, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” in defiance of the Conservative government’s attempts to criminalise these actions. Noticeable was the number of homemade banners, with slogans such as “Stop killing children,” “Free, free Palestine” and “End the Occupation.” A large number of Jewish protesters took part.
Massive numbers of police were again mobilised, including counter-terrorism officers and specialised public order units among the 1,000 on the streets.
A London Underground train driver led a chant of “Free, Free Palestine” on his speaker system, adding, “Hope you all have a blessed day today and look after yourselves.” A video of the event on X/Twitter was viewed millions of times. London Underground Limited immediately announced that they had asked British Transport Police to investigate the “incident.”
Hashim, originally from Sudan, spoke at the Socialist Equality Party’s stall. “What you’re seeing in Gaza is a neo-liberal colonisation of the Middle East. It has its own economic and historical background. They are pushing their agenda by getting rid of any resistance in Palestine, to establish their new order.
“Look at all the war zones within this area and you will understand how fake this ‘international community’ are. They don’t care about humanity.
“Sudan is still under colonisation, despite independence since 1956. When you look at the position of the United States towards Sudan, they don’t care about the Sudanese. They only care about their own interests.”
Hashim cited Saudia Arabia’s war in Yemen, backed by Britain and the US: “They want to take over the world and they don’t care about the people. We have to fight back, otherwise the whole world will see some sort of catastrophe. Gaza is a warning to the world.”
Laura said, “Like many people I feel sick to the stomach that the leader of the opposition is complicit in genocide, refusing to call it out as a genocide, or even the simplest thing of calling for a ceasefire.
“I’ve voted Labour in the past but I’m not going to in the next election because I can’t in good conscience. Then there’s also what’s come out from the leadership about no councillors or senior Labour Party members can be seen at protests. They aren’t allowed to show support for people who are being ethnically cleansed.
“It’s basic human rights. You’re meant to be a political leader and you can’t stand for people’s freedom, freedom not to be bombed!
“I’m not surprised by attempts to demonise protestors. That’s why it’s important so many people turn out because it counters the narrative. Try and argue with 500,000 people on the streets.”
Saskia said, “It’s another example of a marginalised group who are being completely ignored, and Britain is complicit in it through its history with the British Mandate for Palestine, after the Ottoman Empire fell.
“It feels like a responsibility to act and speak up. Palestinians are living in an open-air prison; they’re being cut off from the internet, electricity, food, water. They are being blockaded by the Israeli government.
“This current Labour leadership, I don’t stand with them or support them in any way. Starmer, and all of them, can’t take back the words they’ve said. They claim to speak for the people, but they don’t. They’re the same as the Tories.”
Scarlet, a retail worker, said, “I was scared of being branded a terrorist sympathiser, but something needs to be done about what is happening. This is genocide. There are millions of people in Gaza, half of which are children. Our media and our government stand with Israel, Palestinians are fighting for their existence and we need to stand with them.
“Workers are the majority in this world. They have the real power. The unity of people of conscience in Israel and Palestine is the only way things are going to change.”
Steve, a care worker, said, “The media is telling a one-sided narrative, most of it is lies. What we are seeing on the internet, social media, I can’t sleep looking at it. Killing children non-stop, the cutting of food, water, electricity. I do not know where to start with the hospital bombing, it was sickening. Most of us grow up idolising America, but it’s not what you think it is. The government of Biden is very dark.”
Protests in Salford, Leeds and Sheffield, UK: “It’s a genocide happening there and the media are just lying about it.”
Protests mobilising thousands took place in Salford, Leeds and Sheffield on Saturday, just some of the mass demonstrations in cities throughout the UK. The Salford and Leeds protests both targeted BBC broadcasting facilities, due to the outrage generated by its biased coverage of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza.
Ibrahim, 25, came to the UK with his family from Yemen when he was four. “We want people to know the truth,” he said. “Israel has a say in what goes on in the media in the UK.” The poster he was carrying showed himself as an eight-year-old on a pro-Palestinian demonstration, “It’s been going on the whole time I’ve been alive,” alongside a picture of himself with an anti-Zionist rabbi. “He supports the Palestinians. So many Jews don’t support the state of Israel. Jews, Christians and Muslims used to live together in harmony. It’s happened before and it can happen again.
“[Israeli Prime Minister [Netanyahu] says the whole world is watching, but everyone is watching him massacring kids in hospitals. What they did to the Jews in the Holocaust, they’re doing to the Palestinians. Gaza is an open prison. They’re being pushed into a small piece of land and there’s nowhere to go. It’s ethnic cleansing. They want to kill all the Palestinians. The Israeli Defence Minister said kill them all, starve everyone, like Hitler.”
William, a student, said, “Palestinians have faced oppression for years now. The Israeli government needs to stop the genocide, the ethnic cleansing and the bombing of all Palestinians because they have just the exact same right to be there as the Israelis.”
Abbie said, “It’s a genocide happening there and the media are just lying about it. The Israeli government has killed way more Palestinians than Israelis that have died. All these people are dying and we don’t even know their names or their stories. It’s just horrific to see. The government is trying to keep us quiet.”
Saba, a student, said, “It’s not about Palestine any more. It’s about genocide. It’s about mass killing. And that’s unacceptable whoever it is, ever.
“Everyone should know about everything in the history books on Palestine. In the media they’re only showing one side of the story. It’s propaganda. This is not going to stop opposition because there is a lot of people against Israel. Even Jews themselves. You can’t stop this many people.”
Abdul, a student, said, “When Russia invaded Ukraine many opposed that regime and Putin, but when Israel commits proven war crimes against civilians there is no support. The United States has vetoed a ceasefire resolution.
“My best friend is half Palestinian and I see what’s happening to them and that country. It’s a disgrace for the world. I am from Egypt. Our borders are important for the situation in Palestine. Israel carpet-bombed the Gaza Strip and the border. We are trying to support them, but we are unable to.
“To topple a government, you need to have the workers united for a cause. For now, we’re united to oppose the Israeli apartheid regime. Many major companies and fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s support Israel and other oppressive regimes. We should boycott them. You can’t support a company that props up ethnic cleansing and apartheid.”
Jane, a council worker, said, “It’s appalling that our government is supporting the Israeli government, which is openly racist and carrying on a genocide against the Palestinian people.
“These large protests around the world show that people still have sense, understand the situation, and know who’s at fault in this war. I don’t have anything against the Israeli people but clearly their government is racist and conducts war and genocide.
“It’s a very good idea to unite workers in Palestine and Israel. For the first time in many years there is an opposition within Israel to their government’s reaction to the terrorist attacks. We should build bridges with people within that country and those outside who support the recognition of a Palestine state. There should be negotiation, not war.”
Thousands of Montreal protesters chant “Israël terroiste, Canada accomplice”
Thousands of demonstrators braved rain and cold in Montreal on Sunday to denounce Israel’s genocidal war against the Palestinian people and Canada’s support for Netanyahu’s far-right regime.
Sunday’s demonstration followed a series of hastily improvised Montreal protests organized by pro-Palestinian groups in response to the outbreak of war in the Middle East.
Led by Premier François Legault, Quebec’s entire political establishment angrily denounced an October 8 protest that welcomed the Palestinian uprising in Gaza, which has been subject to a punishing 16-year-long Israeli blockade and repeated military assaults.
On Tuesday October 17, thousands took to the streets in an evening march organized to condemn the Israeli Defence Force’s strike earlier that day on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, in which hundreds perished.
Sunday’s action was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement and other Palestinian advocacy groups, including the Concordia and McGill University chapters of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Many of the participants were young people of Mideast origin. But the demonstration very much reflected Montreal’s ethnic and linguistic diversity, with slogans shouted in English and French, and native-born workers and youth marching alongside immigrants from all over the world. Some came with their entire families.
A significant number of the protesters identified themselves as Jewish opponents of the war, including a delegation of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews (Neturei Karta).
The march, which passed by the US Consulate in downtown Montreal and ended at the Israeli Consulate, was promoted entirely through social media. Both before and after the event, the corporate media largely blacked out reporting of the protests demanding an end to Israel’s war on Gaza, including airstrikes that have killed 5,000, half of them children, and a siege that has deprived its 2.3 million residents of food, water, electricity and medical supplies.
The unions, meanwhile, have kept their distance from the Gaza war protests. On Saturday, various unions and union bodies, including the Montreal labour councils of the Quebec Federation of Labour and Confederation of National Trade Unions, did issue a statement in what was clearly an attempt to bring the growing anti-war, anti-imperialist sentiment under their stifling political control. The unions pleaded to the Trudeau government, which has joined the other imperialist powers in giving full-throated support to Israel’s war on Gaza and is playing a leading role in NATO’s war against Russia, to urge an “immediate ceasefire” and a lifting of the Israeli siege.
On Sunday, Trudeau, in conjunction with US President Biden, German Chancellor Scholz, French President Macron, British Prime Minister Sunak and Italy’s Meloni, issued a statement that reiterated the imperialist powers’ full support for Israel’s “right” to slaughter the Palestinians.
Among the most popular slogans at Sunday’s protest were “Israël terroiste, Canada accomplice” (Israeli terrorism, Canada complicity) and “Boycottons Israël, boycottons les criminels” (Boycott Israel, boycott the criminals.)
“We demand that Canada end its disgusting criminal complicity in Israel’s horrific war crime,” declared one of the speakers.
Brahim, a student who has done work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at CEGEP (junior college), told the World Socialist Web Site: “I condemn this system of apartheid and this injustice which has lasted for 75 years where Palestinians have had their land seized. The UN has condemned the actions of Israel 140 times. What is happening is genocide, it is colonization. All humanity should take up this cause in solidarity.”
Another protester, who wanted to remain anonymous, made the connection between Israel’s imperialist-backed war on Gaza and Washington’s drive to uphold American imperialist global hegemony through aggression and war. “It’s also part of the United States’ military campaign against Russia and China,” they said.
Thousands condemn imperialist-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza at Toronto demonstration
More than 4,000 mainly young people demonstrated in front of the US Consulate on Toronto’s University Avenue Saturday against the genocidal onslaught of the Israeli state, backed by the full force of Canadian and world imperialism, against the Palestinian people.
A worker from the Middle East made a particularly eloquent defense of the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation and genocide.
“I believe Hamas is not a terrorist group, it’s a Palestinian resistance, because Palestine has been under the Israeli Occupation since 1948,” he said. “So, Hamas is not a terrorist group. It is a resistance, fighting for the native people of Palestine, to get their land back and I believe that the same people who are killing the Palestinians now, these are the same people who killed the Native Americans, over one million Native Americans, to build the United States of America, the same people who brought more than 50 million Africans to the United States as slaves, and they killed half of them. And they are the same people who bombed Japan, with two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And these people are the same people who are killing the people in Palestine. And they say they are terrorists! The real terrorists are the Zionists who are occupying the government of Israel, the army of Israel. Biden and his army—these are the biggest terrorists we have ever seen.”
The protest site in front of the US consulate is well worn with the feet of demonstrators. From the war against Yugoslavia in 1999 to the imperialist wars of conquest against Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, the US Consulate site has become the traditional location for anti-war demonstrations. This reflects the understanding that US imperialism is the principal instigator of a whole series of wars which have claimed tens of millions of lives around the world.
This point was made by Ali Malah, a veteran of the anti-war campaigns of a quarter century ago, who remarked to the World Socialist Web Site, “The streets recognize our names now, from the war on Iraq, the war on Afghanistan and the war on Palestine. So here we are, doing it again. There is huge anger in the community regarding what’s going on inside Gaza and Palestine, and also huge disappointment with the federal political leaders and provincial as well. They haven’t developed a spine to call for a ceasefire, and they are just kissing up to the Zionist lobby and the illegal State of Israel.”
Hundreds rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan: “The media is not covering the protests because they understand the power that comes with people uniting.”
In Ann Arbor on Saturday, over 300 protesters gathered to protest the genocide in Gaza. There was a noticeable anger directed specifically toward the Biden Administration’s role in embracing the slaughter of Palestinians by the Israeli military. A major chant at the event, repeated many times throughout the day, was “Biden, Biden What Do You Say? How Many Children Did You Kill Today?”
A noticeable feature of the rally was the dominant presence of young people in attendance, with some as young as nine years old speaking out powerfully in opposition to the attack on Gaza. Placards called for an end to the unfolding genocide, denounced the Israeli attacks on Gaza as war crimes, and opposed US-Israeli apartheid of Palestinians. There were also denunciations of University of Michigan President Santa Ono, who twice refused to specifically oppose the US-Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in official communiques.
A team of SEP and IYSSE members campaigned throughout the event, and passed out the WSWS perspective “Biden’s demand for $105 billion in military spending: A declaration of war against the working class.” The statement was warmly received. Attendees spoke powerfully about their opposition to the horrific war crimes unfolding in Gaza. They also spoke out against Biden’s proposed $105 billion spending bill on war.
One protester said, “It’s interesting how he goes to fund the genocide that’s impacting the Palestinians, then also funds humanitarian aid at the same time. I find it very hypocritical. Every year they give, with our US tax dollars, $3.8 billion to Israel, which I think is something that should instead be put into American citizens, funding education, housing, food. We have a lot of issues here that could be of much better interest than sending it to the Israeli army, which has been causing and unfolding genocide in Gaza.”
Many protesters were Palestinian or had deep family connections to Palestine. Some interviewees denounced the media blackout of the mass protests around the world. Another protester commented, “The mdeia is not covering the protests because they understand the power that comes with people uniting and waking up and shaking up the system, causing an uproar. They are not covering this because they are in fear of people doing just that. I think we do need to justly stand with Palestinian people or else we will find ourselves on the brink of World War III.”
“For Biden to continue to fund all these murders,” a young Egyptian-American told the WSWS, “is unacceptable.”
SEP campaigners also passed out meeting information for an upcoming event with WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North titled “Leon Trotsky and the Struggle for Socialism in the 21st Century,” on the centenary of the founding of the Left Opposition and its connection to the social and political struggles unfolding today, including the genocidal attack on Gaza.
“It’s massacre ... that’s being funded by America”: Over 2,000 protest in Oakland, California
On Sunday, over 2,000 protesters gathered in the rain in downtown Oakland near city hall to denounce the US-NATO-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. While the demonstration had been called by local Muslim community groups, the protests attracted a diverse crowd of students, workers and activists who came out to voice their opposition to Israel’s actions and the role of the US government in aiding the Zionist regime.
Speakers at the event gave detailed accounts of the Israeli military attacks on hospitals, markets and churches, which have led to the deaths of friends and family members of Palestinian-Americans. They also accused the US corporate media of attempting to justify Israel’s crimes by darkly claiming “all the bodies of children are Hamas members.”
In between speakers, demonstrators chanted “Genocide is a crime! Free, free Palestine!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” The rally concluded with a peaceful march to the nearby federal building and courthouse. Aside from a World Socialist Web Site reporting team, which distributed 300 leaflets, no other media organizations were present.
Amina, a protester at the demonstration, explained, “It’s a genocide. It’s massacre. It’s apartheid. It’s illegal occupation. It’s an entity that’s being funded by America, billions of dollars a year, to kill an entire civilization.”
Asked her message to the Israeli working class, Amina appealed, “Israeli, be on the right side of history. Be on the side of justice and uplift your neighbors. They need help. They need your support.”
French protesters denounce genocidal Israeli onslaught against Gaza
On Sunday, significant protests took place in France’s major cities in opposition to the French government’s unconditional support for the Israeli government as it prepares to launch a genocidal ground operation against the population of the Gaza Strip. Until Thursday all protests in opposition to Israel’s murderous bombing campaign against Gaza had been banned in France and dozens were arrested for organising peaceful protests or displaying Palestinian flags. The Paris prefecture only announced that the protest would be permitted on Saturday.
While a recent ruling by the constitutional council meant that the government’s ban on pro-Palestinian protests has been temporarily lifted, it is still possible to be arrested for “apology for terrorism” for as little as carrying a Palestinian flag in France.
Despite the threat of police violence and arrest for voicing their support for the Palestinians—and very late notice—15,000 protested in Paris. Thousands also marched in Marseille and hundreds in smaller cities throughout France. Two hundred people gathered in Nice despite a continued ban by the local authorities and the organisers were arrested.
In Paris, the WSWS spoke to Sara, a master’s student, who explained why she came to protest. “This genocide, I think we can’t even talk about a conflict, it’s not even a war. It has taken everything from us, regardless of our religion, our origins, and it hurts our hearts,” she said.
Sara condemned the Macron government’s support for the Israeli onslaught, “You can see it on my placard, it says ‘Macron accomplice.’ For me, it is even more broadly the West which is complicit. … we saw a very different treatment for Ukraine.”
Zahira, a medical student, explained, “I came to support the Palestinian people and prevent a new Nakba, a genocide of the Palestinian people. I come from Lebanon, I see what is happening there in the region, and I see every day the massacres committed by Israeli criminals in Palestine, the bombings against hospitals, schools. The Israeli government is the new Nazism today, and everyone must fight to prevent it.”
Workers and youth speak out at Australian marches against Israeli assault on Gaza
Tens of thousands of workers and youth took to the streets in Australia over the weekend, marching to protest the Israeli regime’s genocidal war against Gaza. Rallies were held in the main cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
The WSWS spoke to participants in the largest demonstrations, which were held in Sydney, with around 20,000 marching on Saturday, over 5,000 in Brisbane on the same day and some 30,000 in Melbourne on Sunday. Those taking part included a broad layer of working class and young people.
In Sydney, the WSWS spoke to Jo, a doctor who, along with her colleagues, organised a vigil at the city’s Liverpool Hospital on October 18, in which more than 100 health workers participated.
“I think a lot of the rage that you see from people that support the Palestinians is because the narrative has been completely monopolised for the last 75 years,” she said. “In all the coverage that we’re seeing on the news, when you turn on your TV, when you listen to the radio from the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], which is supposed to be somewhat impartial, you will never hear the context of this attack, which is 75 years of apartheid.”
Jo said the horror occurring was “not opinion, it is fact. Every human rights organisation, including the United Nations, including the WHO, including Amnesty International, call it an apartheid, but most Australians don’t even know because that’s not what’s being presented to them. All they’re hearing is terrorist Arabs have attacked Israel and claims that Israel has a right to self-defence. It’s their right to bomb a hospital.”
Speaking on the impact of the Al-Ahli hospital bombing in shifting sentiment at her workplace she said: “It has been across the aisle, whether they were political or not, whether they had any understanding of this conflict or not. I think that struck a chord with everyone… at least people can agree at baseline that hospitals shouldn’t be bombed, that children shouldn’t be bombed. But I will say that it’s so hard to speak up... It’s not like we’re allowed to openly speak about this in our hospitals.
Asked if doctors were being silenced, Jo said: “Absolutely! Our own organisation, the AMA [Australian Medical Association], has not made a statement about this. Nor has any other organisations that I pay money to … There’s so much censorship and propaganda that’s going around, that we can’t speak freely.
“The Australian Medical Students Association did put out a post on Facebook that was immediately deleted. They then put up a statement retracting the post and saying, ‘there’s lots of nuance to this situation.’”
Jo explained that “There was a peaceful organisation of doctors, midwives, nurses, anyone who works in the healthcare system in Liverpool Park two nights ago.” It was organised independently by junior doctors and it spread among broader layers of healthcare workers.
“It was peaceful and every speaker there spoke about Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist and agnostic solidarity. There were no hate messages. What we said was that we cannot support an occupation where hospitals are being bombed. The way it was portrayed on the media and the comments when you read their coverage was people saying, ‘these are unemployed people on our welfare dollar protesting.’ We are doctors. We are not unemployed, and we work very hard.”
Originally from Gaza, Aladin, said: “I’m here to support my people. My family were farmers and they had to move after 1948. They were expelled. When the farm was taken, they went to Gaza.
“For the Western governments, where their interests lie, they don’t want peace in the Middle East. It’s all business, all the weapons are being sold to Israel in the Middle Eastern countries. The US is losing its grip on the world. They have been the most powerful country for a long time. I think they have moved their carriers against Iran. There is a double standard here. In Ukraine they say they want to stop the killing of children and women. They are hypocrites. They don’t care about humanitarian rights at all.”
Thousands denounce Canadian and US government support for genocide in Toronto protest
More than 4,000 people, including many young people, families and members of Toronto’s large Middle Eastern diaspora, demonstrated in front of the US Consulate on Toronto’s University Avenue against the ongoing Gaza genocide and the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Demonstrators denounced the support of the Canadian and US governments for the criminal bombing of Gaza, chanting, “Justin Trudeau’s hands are red!” and “Joe Biden – your hands are red!” Many demonstrators carried signs opposing the occupation and genocide and affirming the right of Palestinians to resist it.
One of the speakers declared, “Joe Biden pledged for $14.3 billion of American taxpayer funds, including the transfer of US weaponry and ammunition to murder more Palestinians, in the name of ‘democracy.’ We are witnessing a genocide that is being funded by the US at the rate of $3.8 billion annually. But the United States has given Israel more than $260 billion in combined military and economic aid since WWII. All of this money serves as the foundation of the systematic murder and imprisonment of Palestinian lives, and the demonization of an entire population.”
Demonstrators expressed disgust with the portrayal of Palestinians as “terrorists” by the capitalist press, and the refusal of the media to report the horrific suffering of the civilian population under Israeli bombardment. The chant “Mainstream media – tell the truth!” was repeated many times. The peaceful demonstrators marched from the US Consulate to Bay and King St., the center of Canadian banking and finance.
Nearly 5,000 march in Washington D.C.: “The blood of the Palestinian people is on [Biden’s] hands. Him and Netanyahu. Not the Israeli people.”
While rallies demanding a ceasefire and an end to the war have been held every day this week in Washington D.C., on Saturday nearly 5,000 people protested outside the Washington Monument, chanting slogans such as “Biden what do you say/how many kids did you kill today?”
Men, women and children carried Palestinian flags in protest of the US’s support of the criminal Israeli government. The protesters were peaceful, with children also joining in the chants.
The primary reaction of protest participants was disgust with the Biden administration, with many stating they had previously voted for him.
“The blood of the Palestinian people is on [Biden’s] hands. Him and Netanyahu. Not the Israeli people,” a protester told WSWS reporters. “This is the government of Netanyahu. He has been working to create this...”
“It is not a regular war. It is criminal. To kill kids. To kill women. To destroy the hospital, with kids, women, doctors,” another protester told the WSWS.
Over 30,000 march in Chicago: “This is the 21st century. There is no place for colonialism anymore.”
Over 30,000 workers and youth marched in Chicago on Saturday afternoon, as the major local news media maintained a complete blackout of the mass demonstration.
Thousands gathered at Grant Park and Michigan Avenue in Chicago to call for an end to military aid to Israel and an immediate ceasefire.
The crowd was diverse, young and old, of all ethnic backgrounds. “Joe Biden, no more aid, stop the funds for deadly raids,” was one of the slogans chanted by the crowd.
“The genocide that’s going in Palestine is sickening,” one young worker said. “We need to call for a ceasefire and stop funding the war. It’s insane to me that the proposal is to send money to fund the bombs. It’s inhumane. We should just fund humanitarian aid.”
Some of the most powerful comments came from a contingent of health care workers. They had a banner that read, “Health workers against the Gaza genocide.” They spoke in solidarity with the health care workers in Gaza who have been attacked and killed, working under extremely horrendous conditions. Health workers spoke to the fact that Gaza healthcare workers are working without supplies and anesthetics, performing operations without the basic tools needed for medical care.
One of them shared a story of doctors who are working under these conditions and seeing their own family members brought in, injured or killed in the bombing raids. One raised opposition to their union leadership in the US. The union had ignored demands from the rank and file to issue a statement opposed to the war. He made an appeal to rank-and-file health care workers to demand that their union oppose the war.
“The violence that the US exports to Palestine by funding the Israeli occupation comes back to our own neighborhoods.
“Healthcare workers in Palestine are trying to take care of people while they are being bombed.
“We want to put pressure on our leadership from the rank and file for sympathy strikes in solidarity with the Palestinian health workers who are working to take care of their patients amidst a genocide.
“Gazan doctors have no anesthesia for surgery. They have to treat wounds with vinegar because there is nothing else.
“I don’t think the money going to fight against Russia has anything to do with the Ukrainian people who are suffering. It is 100 percent about trying to advance US interests and trying to control those regions.”
A group of young workers and students also spoke to WSWS reporters and expressed interest in attending the Chicago meeting on October 25th. One was from Guatemala, and one from Bosnia. Both spoke out in solidarity with the Palestinians, as their own families were forced to flee their countries because of attacks by US imperialism.
When asked about the Biden administration’s support for Israel, one young worker said, “It’s absolutely outrageous. They are showing us to our faces that they don’t care. If you are going to sit here and propagandize, try to make it seem like everything is the fault of the Palestinians, that’s just wrong. There should be a strike to stop the war.
“It’s time that the world recognizes what is happening to the Palestinians.
“We support anyone in the world who is being oppressed and occupied. This is the 21st century. There is no place for colonialism anymore.”
Thousands march in Portland, Oregon: “No one is free when someone is oppressed”
In Portland, Oregon, thousands of protestors gathered outside a federal congressman’s office in the northeast part of the city. There was a mixture of people from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including many Jewish and Arab workers and youth.
Daniel explained, “I am Jewish, and my family is Israeli. I am tired of my name and my religion being used to support genocide and apartheid. I am here because I believe in human rights and indigenous rights for Palestinians. And I am here because I believe that Zionism hurts Jewish people and Israelis.
“[Zionism] is the basis of this settler colonial state, but it’s also a belief that secular society doesn’t need to make a place for religious minorities, but instead we need to make our own colonial state somewhere else. In addition to justifying this violent apartheid, it reinforces the anti-Semitism we see around the world.”
“I don’t think the actions of Israel in any way represent the Jewish people. I think they should stop using our name to justify violence. You can’t get economic or labor justice without dissolving the very basic systems that the state was built on, of the exploitation and dispossession of Palestinian people.”
Marco told the WSWS, “I am here because we need to keep supporting the liberation and freedom of Palestine. I think it’s one of the biggest crimes that’s been occurring for the last 75 years.”
Marco agreed that the Israeli political establishment has different interests than the Israeli working class. “Not everyone is the same,” he said. “There is a big movement of Israelis and Jewish people that are understanding what has been happening in history, and they are against occupation too. But the government and people supporting their policies need to be held accountable.”
Another protester explained the impact of footage circulated on social media. She has been “seeing the videos of families where their houses and families and children are under rubble. And they are screaming that ‘We are not a part of this.’ They are just civilians. It’s not okay. And the hospitals are overrun.” She added, “No one is free when someone is oppressed.”
Regarding Biden’s support for Israel, she said, “I am ashamed. I am angry. It’s disgusting. On so many levels, it’s unacceptable.”
Another protester added, “We’re in a position in the United States where we don’t have free healthcare. We are struggling paycheck to paycheck. We’re not able to get a good education at a decent or free price. Our system is crumbling right in front of us. We can’t afford to be funding wars that are killing innocent civilians. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
10,000 march in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: “Before this war against the Palestinians, there was about to be a civil war in Israel against Netanyahu’s regime”
In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on Saturday, an initial crowd of about 1,000 protesters swelled to 10,000 by mid-afternoon.
Protesters, many wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid ever present state surveillance, called for an end to Zionism and the war. Demonstrators of all ages and ethnicities, including many Arab Americans, Latin Americans, South Asians and Jews chanted, “No peace on stolen land.”
In an interview with WSWS reporters, Sha explained, “I have family in Israel. And a lot of the Jews in Israel don’t support what the Israeli government is doing. Before this war against the Palestinians, there was about to be a civil war in Israel against Netanyahu’s regime.”
“I would say that both Democrats and Republicans are conservative,” Sha added. “We don’t have a genuinely progressive party anymore, at least not in the mainstream.”
Naomi and Maeve from New York attended the demonstration because they were outraged at what was happening in Gaza.
Naomi said, “The Palestinians have been oppressed for generations and are fighting for liberation. What Israel is doing is genocide. Israel is an imperialist project of the US. The Palestinians have tried peaceful means for decades. Things won’t change without revolution. I don’t know the answer but defer to the Palestinian youth movement. I stand in support.”
Norfolk, Virginia: “We just want to show that we are humans”
In Norfolk, Virginia opponents of Israeli war crimes led a march in the downtown area. Around 300 people participated. This included a number of local college students.
Mohammad, a computer science student at Norfolk State University, told a WSWS reporter, “We are sick of America feeding cash into Israel and supplying them with all of these weapons that kill thousands every week, every day, every month. This has been going on for years and years. I just want the whole world to see that even though we are fighting back right now, we are just fighting back; we are not terrorists. They’ve been doing this for years, they kill us, and even in the West Bank where there is no Hamas. We just want to show that we are also humans, and we are sick of genocide.”
Asked about the Biden administration’s military budget proposal of $105 billion, Mohammad said, “there are plenty of things other than war that this money could go into. We could end student loans, we could end the climate crisis, we could spend on cancer research. We deserve to have a say on where the money goes.”
Mohammad responded favorably to the suggestion of a working class movement to end war, including a general strike. “I support everything you are saying. People are putting in more work and are getting paid less. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense at all that these executives and CEOs get to make all of the decisions. They make more money and don’t put in nearly as much work.”
Another young protester drew important parallels between US imperialism in the war against Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks, and the current campaign being waged by the Netanyahu regime. “What Israel is doing to Gaza is basically what [the US] did to Afghanistan...”
“We are here to demand an end to the ethnic cleansing and genocide”: Over 25,000 march in Los Angeles
At Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, thousands of protesters demanded an end to the Zionist occupation and the war against Gaza.
“My conception of imperialism,” Ronnie explained, “I think it’s a small few exercising power and control and force over a majority.”
A Palestinian American, who did not wish to be publicly identified explained to a WSWS reporter, “We are here to demand an end to the ethnic cleansing and genocide that has been happening for 16 years.
“We are here to demand the end of any kind of funding that the United States is giving to Israel to commit genocide against the Palestinians. The United States gives $3.8 billion of our taxpayer money to fund, to pay for the genocide of the Palestinian people.”
“The people who are suffering are civilians,” Judy told the WSWS. “The political governments sometimes don’t listen to the people. Same as here in the US. If you ask people, ‘Do you want your money going to Israel?’ most people are going to tell you ‘no.’ Because we don’t want to see our taxes being used to kill innocent civilians.”
Nyabingi explained, “I am really just hurt that our government is supporting such carnage and such hatred.
“I have a problem just knowing that my tax dollars are being used for [slaughter]. Hearing people that I consider reasonable saying that genocide is ok as long as Israel is supported, I just don’t understand that mentality. The Zionists that are carrying out this carnage are the same European racists that practice Jim Crow and slavery in this country.”
“I posted on Facebook this equation, Benjamin Netanyhu plus Sleepy Joe equals “Apocalypse Now,” Nyabingi added.
- Global outrage erupts over Israeli bombing of Gaza hospital
- Death toll in Israeli genocide against Gaza more than 4,100
- Down with Netanyahu’s government! Stop the imperialist-backed Zionist onslaught against Gaza!
- Millions march in global protests against Israeli genocide in Gaza
- Biden’s demand for $105 billion in military spending: A declaration of war against the working class