WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands marched on Freedom Plaza on Saturday calling for President Biden to support a ceasefire in Gaza and halt support for Israel amidst the climbing death toll in the region.
Organized by the American Muslim Task Force for Palestine, in partnership with the ANSWER Coalition, the event began with several speeches from organizers and journalists with first-hand experience of the conflict. Some speakers discussed the experiences of family members and friends dying from the conflict.
Wael Dahdouh, a veteran journalist for Al Jazeera covering the conflict in Gaza, made a video appearance and described the horrors he has endured since the war began. “We have lost family, we have lost children, we have lost friends, we have lost our offices, we have lost our homes, we have lost shelter, and we live homeless,” he said. Dahdouh has reportedly lost several family members, including his wife, two sons, a daughter, and a grandson, to Israeli airstrikes.
It has been more than 100 days since October 7th, when the U.S.-recognized terror organization Hamas massacred over 1200 Israeli civilians and took 240 hostages, according to the Israeli Defense Forces. Tens of thousands have reportedly been killed in Gaza since the attack, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
The protesters marched on a pre-determined route, stopping at the White House, where many remained for several hours. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” “Wake him (Joe Biden) up,” and “Long live the intifada” were some of the chants heard on Pennsylvania Avenue. Some protesters engaged in escalations with the Secret Service and local law enforcement by attempting to breach the external security fence, throwing bottles toward officers, and engaging in verbal exchanges, chanting “baby killers” and comparing them to members of the Klu Klux Klan. The Secret Service reportedly issued a relocation of some White House staffers and media members.