Thousands gathered and marched Saturday in the Loop for the third weekend in a row since war broke out between Israel and Hamas to demand an Israeli cease-fire and protest U.S. aid to Israel.
The latest demonstration followed increased Israeli airstrikes on Friday and the start of ground operations by the Israeli military in Gaza. Israel also knocked out communications in the Gaza Strip, largely cutting off its 2.3 million people from contact with each other and the outside world.
“My vote counts, my voice counts,” said Nabella Rasheed, who carried a symbolic casket at the demonstration. “[As a Muslim] I have been on the oppressed side for way too long and it is our job to stand up for the children of Palestine.”
Demonstrators marched on Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to the South Loop before being blocked by police when it appeared they were attempting to march onto Interstate 90/94.
The Palestinian death toll passed 7,700, most of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. More than 1,400 people were slain in Israel during a surprise incursion by Hamas militants that began the conflict, including at least 310 soldiers, according to the Israeli government. At least 229 hostages were taken into Gaza, and four hostages have been released.
A 28-year-old woman who attended the demonstration said she had been keeping in contact with childhood family friends up until last week when she said they were killed during Israeli strikes.
“My tax dollars are going to another country for their genocidal tactics,” she said, but declined to give her name.
“We put the barest minimum of money into our educational systems and say we need to learn history to not repeat it,” she said. “But [U.S. politicians] are the ones repeating it.”