Thousands march on Minnesota State Capitol, call for cease-fire in Gaza
A march to the Minnesota State Capitol led by the newly formed Free Palestine Coalition on Saturday was thousands strong.
Protestors again called for a cease-fire and demanded that the U.S. stop sending funding to Israel amid an increasingly desperate situation for Palestinian people living in Gaza.
“Different people come for different reasons,” shared coalition spokesperson Meredith Aby. “But we are united in a message, which is that we don’t want to have blood on our hands. We don’t want to be complicit.”
Organizers called for 10,000 to join in ahead of Saturday, the number signifying the number of Palestinians killed since the conflict began. The group, organized by several local activist groups that are now collectively known as the Free Palestine Coalition, was not quite that large, but roughly a couple thousand people crowded the Capitol lawn.
Also on the lawn was a Palestinian flag formed by the placement of thousands of small green, red, white and black flags together. Each bore the name of a Palestinian killed in the conflict.
20 of 36 hospitals in Gaza are no longer operational, according to the World Health Organization on Friday, and the Gaza-based Ministry of Health reported the Palestinian death toll had surpassed 11,000, including militants and civilians.
40% of the deaths are reportedly children found in the wreckage of their homes.
“I’m a mother of a 14-year-old,” Aby continued. “I can’t even imagine trying to have to pull my child out of the rubble, and people are literally doing that and have been doing that for weeks.”
Israeli Defense Forces on Saturday reported 150,000 Gazans have fled the area since the White House said that Israel agreed to daily, four-hour humanitarian pauses on Thursday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also on Saturday, pushed back against calls for a cease-fire, saying Israel will continue “full force” in its effort to crush Hamas. A cease-fire will only be possible if more than 200 hostages are released, Netanyahu added.
The Free Palestine Coalition will continue to organize in the Twin Cities as the conflict continues, Aby said.