CHICAGO (WLS) — Several hundred people gathered in West Town outside where President Joe Biden is expected to attend a fundraiser to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
Those in attendance are extremely critical of the president and U.S. military support for Israel. They say Biden is supporting a genocide in Gaza and want to have their voices heard.
They convened at the corner of Armour and Hubbard, saying they want to show the president that they are a formidable voting bloc and believe he has the power to call for a ceasefire in Gaza to allow innocent civilians to escape. They say Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,400 people in southern Israel and took over 200 hostages, mostly civilians, back to Gaza, is disproportional and akin to genocide.
RELATED: Netanyahu to ABC’s Muir: ‘No cease-fire’ without release of hostages
Israeli officials say about 240 hostages remain in Gaza a month later. Four, including two Americans from Evanston, have been released.
The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health has reported over 10,000 casualties since the attack.
The support for a ceasefire at this protest came from a diverse crowd. This is one of many protests held over the past few weeks. Palestinians and supports of many walks of life hope the president will hear their call.
Their shouts likely penetrated the thick glass of the president’s motorcade as it pulled up steps from the mass of protesters at a private campaign fundraiser. It was not a warm welcome.
For many, it was deeply personal.
“One of my best friend’s whole family is gone. It can’t get any closer than that,” said Sam Hejja.
The U.S. government sends billions of dollars in military aid to Israel each year. This crowd holds Biden personally responsible.
“Nobody with a right mind should stand aside and do nothing. We’re disappointed in Joe Biden. He’s spoken out before for Palestine,” said Eddy Savage.
As the White House helped orchestrate four hour daily pauses in fighting, Biden tweeted, “They are a step in the right direction. You have my word: I will continue to advocate for civilian safety and focus on increasing aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza.”
But for the war-weary crowd it’s not enough.