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Stop funding murder - Tens of thousands Gaza supporters urge Obama
Protesters marched to the building of American daily newspaper The Washington Post to protest against what they said was a pro-Israeli editorial policy
Monday August 4, 2014 12:04 PM, Agencies

Tens of thousands of demonstrators Saturday marched on the White House in Washington DC to protest against Israel's ongoing military offensive on Gaza. Carrying placards and shouting 'anti Israel' slogans, they urged the Obama administration to stop funding murder.

White House rally
[The pro-Palestinian rally drew thousands of people outside the White House on Saturday who came to express their outrage. (Photo: Al Jazeera)]

"Free Palestine, let Gaza live," an estimated 20,000 people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds inclduing a strong group of orthodox Jews, chanted in unison outside the White House.

The demonstration was sponsored by 47 different organisations whose literature advertising the march implored the White House to "Stop the Massacre in Gaza".

Led by the Washington-based anti-war coalition ANSWER and a broad coalition of Muslim-American organizations including the Council of American-Islamic Relations, American-Muslim Alliance, New York Muslim Legal Fund of America and Islamic Circle of North America, demonstrators came from different cities and states from across the U.S.

The crowds included a diverse ethnic, religious and political mix from all over the country; from cities like Chicago, Florida, Ohio and New York. Well known figures like activist and academic Cornell West spoke at the rally.

Many carried banners declaring: "Israel has terrorized the region and world since 1948" as well as "Stop genocide in Gaza" , "Stop Funding Murder" and "Free Palestine." They chanted slogans like "Free, free Palestine, killing children is a crime," and "Five, six, seven eight, Israel is an apartheid state."

Demonstrators also carried symbolic coffins draped in the Palestinian flag to represent the nearly 1700 Palestinians killed by the Israeli bombardment, many of them women and children. More than 8,500 have been injured since the offensive began July 8.

They also criticised the US for its decision to re-supply Israel with weapons during the offensive; and demanded that Washington stop providing more than $3bn in annual aid to Israel.

"Gaza will not die -- it will never die," said Amar Jamal as he marched through downtown Washington with his family surrounded by a sea of red, black, white and green, the colors of the Palestinians' flag.

"It is the time to make peace because this bloodbath will not stop in Gaza. All the Middle East will be in trouble" if the conflict doesn't end, warned the Palestinian-born 70-year-old.

Wearing a Palestinian flag, a 36-year-old American-Palestinian demonstrator named May, said: "We are here to call for the administration to stop its support for Israel and to stop the Israeli occupation of Palestine."

Describing as "barbaric" the approval by the U.S. Congress on Friday of $225 million of financial support to Israel, she said that Obama should halt the flow of fund.

Many of the protesters voiced anger at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, after he vowed to keep up his military campaign against Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas for as long and as forcefully as needed.

One protester waved a banner that read "Netanyahu and Hitler are the same, the only difference is the name."

The protesters marched to the building of the American daily newspaper The Washington Post to protest against what they said was a pro-Israeli editorial policy. At the gate of the newspaper's headquarters, which was guarded by U.S. police, the demonstrators shouted slogan: "Shame on you!"

The executive director of Council of American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, told news agency Anadolu Agency (AA): "We protest the editorial vision of the Washington Post, which continues to promote Israeli occupation and apartheid policies that are the root of the conflict."

Shereen Abdel-Nabi, holding her young son who was wearing a "Jesus is Palestinian" T-shirt, said the "US should stop military aid to Israel and use stronger words in condemning its action."

"I really think this is a turning point ... it's an issue of humanity. The US government is proving to be on the wrong side of history on this one," the 34-year-old added.

Passing by the construction vehicles' producer, Caterpillar Corporation, the demonstrators protested against the corporation for providing the Israeli state with tools and equipment for demolishing Palestinian homes and building Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

A group of orthodox Jews were among the demonstrators, carrying banners declaring: "Judaism rejects the Zionist Israeli State and its atrocities."

Jewish demonstrator rabbi David Fieldman said: "The Israeli state has been perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians which Judaism would never accept."

Another group of demonstrators burned an Israeli flag nearby. The demonstration ended peacefully.

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