Washington, DC - A pro-Palestinian rally drew thousands of people outside the White House on Saturday who came to express their outrage at the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, and demand an end to it.
Demonstrators carried symbolic coffins draped in the Palestinian flag to represent the nearly 1,700 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. The protesters chanted slogans like, "Free, free Palestine, killing children is a crime," and "Five, six, seven eight, Israel is an apartheid state."
They also criticised the US for its decision to resupply Israel with weapons during the offensive; and demanded that Washington stop providing more than $3bn in annual aid to Israel. The demonstration was sponsored by 47 different organisations whose literature advertising the march implored the White House to "Stop the Massacre in Gaza." 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.
But despite the massive turnout, government officials did not see or hear them. Congress recessed for the summer this past week, and President Obama was at Camp David celebrating his birthday.