Key Moments From the Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Across the U.S.

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Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have taken to the streets across the world, calling for a Gaza ceasefire amid the Israel-Hamas war. More than 11,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and more than 1,200 people killed in Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that started the war.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to call for a ceasefire until Hamas releases more than 200 hostages. U.S. President Joe Biden has urged for humanitarian pauses, to allow more aid to be distributed and for hostages to be released.

With all eyes on the Middle East, there has been an outcry of support for a ceasefire. Across social media, many people are calling attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with food, water, fuel and medical supplies running out.

Across the U.S., several demonstrations have taken place, most recently on the evening of Nov. 15, when U.S. Capitol Police officers clashed with protesters who gathered outside the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C.

Below are key moments from the protests across the U.S.

Clashes erupt between police and protesters in the nation's capital

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C. on the evening of Nov. 15. In a post shared on X (formerly Twitter), U.S. Capitol Police said that the protests, thought to be attended by approximately 150 people, were illegal and had turned violent. "Six officers were treated for injuries—ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched. One person has been arrested for assault on an officer. We appreciate our officers who kept these illegal and violent protesters back, and protected everyone in the area," the law enforcement body said. Many lawmakers were reportedly inside the building when the protests erupted and had to be evacuated, including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Whip Katherine Clark and Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar.

Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, and Democratic Socialists of America were the three activist groups behind the demonstration. Jewish Voice for Peace accused police of violently assaulting protestors, claiming that the demonstrations were peaceful until officers began using pepper spray.

Police gave no warnings to disperse and refused to speak with the police liaison on site,” the organization argued.

Amnesty International Demonstrates Outside the White House

The human rights organization Amnesty International held a demonstration outside the White House lawn, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The group laid out dozens of fake body bags on the sidewalk, to represent those killed in the Gaza conflict. Pro-Israel demonstrators also showed up to the gathering, holding signs calling for the return of the Israeli hostages.

“We organized this demonstration to bring attention to the loss of life that is happening today in Gaza. After the war crime that Hamas committed on Oct. 7th, we have seen more than 11,000 Gazans die,” the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Paul O’Brien, told the Associated Press. “This demonstration is to bring home to President Biden the fact that he’s not doing enough to stop the violence in Gaza.”

Musician Macklemore speaks to the Washington D.C. crowd

Musician Macklemore, born Ben Haggerty, took to the microphone at a rally in the nation’s capital on Nov. 4, saying he didn’t expect to be there since “there were thousands of people who are more qualified to speak on the issue of a free Palestine than myself.” 

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“They told me to be quiet, they told me to do my research, to go back, that it’s too complex to say something, to be silent in this moment. In the last three weeks, I’ve gone back and I’ve done some research and I’m teachable, I don’t know enough, but I know enough that this is a genocide,” he claimed. A video of his speech has since received over 112,000 likes on X (formerly Twitter).

The United Nations defines genocide as a crime “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” The U.N. has said it is gathering evidence for war crimes committed by Hamas and Israel, while nine families of Israeli victims of the Hamas attack filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court arguing Hamas committed genocide.

Israel’s government has pushed back on allegations of genocide—for instance, accusing some Spanish politicians who suggested that of aligning with Hamas.

Nihad Awad promises consequences in the 2024 election: "No ceasefire, no votes"

Nihad Awad, the national director at the Council on American–Islamic Relations, told a Washington D.C. crowd on Nov. 4 that no ceasefire means no Arab-American votes for President Biden and the Democratic party in the 2024 elections, The Guardian reported.

“Our message is: No ceasefire, no votes,” Awad repeated, with the crowd joining in. “No votes in Michigan, no votes in Arizona, no votes in Georgia, no votes in Nevada, no votes in Wisconsin, no votes in Pennsylvania.”

Time lapse shows huge turnout at D.C. protest

The activist group the Answer Coalition, which promoted the protest in Washington D.C. on Nov. 4, released a time lapse video, showing massive streams of people on the streets.

The organization claimed on Twitter that the march was attended by 300,000 people, although that number could not be verified by TIME.

Thousands take over roads in California cities

Pro-Palestrinian rally at Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles
Protesters, demanding an end to the Israeli invasion of Gaza, marched on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles towards the Federal Building on Nov. 4Mel Melcon—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Holding posters and Palestinian flags, protestors calling for a Gaza ceasefire amassed at the Israeli Consulate in West Los Angeles on Nov. 4, before marching down and eventually taking over a main boulevard. On the same day, protesters rallied in San Francisco and marched downtown.

Protesters storm U.S. military supply ship in Oakland

Ahead of the Nov. 4 marches, protesters amassed around a U.S. military supply ship in Oakland, California on Nov. 3 for hours, some clinging to its side and climbing up its ladders, after they claimed to have heard from a source that it was headed toward Israel.

However, union officials and subcontractors at the Port of Oakland working around the ship said it was empty and periodically came and went from the port.

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