LONDON: Over 1,000 protesters shut down an area of Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles demanding that the US call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the Guardian reported on Thursday.
The protest started on Wednesday evening in De Longpre Park with speeches by Jewish organizers, an Islamic Center of Southern California representative, and Patrisse Cullors, a longtime organizer and Black Lives Matter co-founder.
“We are not free until everyone of us is free,” she said.
The demonstration, organized by the Jewish Voice for Peace Los Angeles groups, included a staged sit-in at the intersection with flowers in hand and shirts reading “Jews say ceasefire now” as tourists looked on.
“I grieve the loss of more than 1,200 Israeli lives, and I grieve the loss of Palestinian lives,” JVP organizer Michael Wolfe said. “I will continue to grieve, and I will not allow my grief to be used as a weapon of war to fuel genocide.”
They started marching down Hollywood Boulevard. Apart from a tense confrontation with a driver who attempted to ram through a parking lot directly toward organizers, they moved through several blocks mostly unhindered. Several blocks were closed off by police, the Guardian reported.
Protesters gathered in the pouring rain and held Palestinian flags and signs reading “not in our name” and “let Gaza live.”
Jocelyn Gallegos, who carried a sign reading “Viva Viva Palestina,” said she hoped the US would call for a ceasefire and that people would not turn their eyes away from the conflict.
“This is happening in the heart of Hollywood,” she told the Guardian. “I want this to no longer be ignored.”
The protest followed large gatherings earlier this month in Washington, DC, New York, and Seattle. Protesters have called for a cease-fire in the ongoing war as well as an end to US military aid to Israel as the death toll of Palestinian civilians rises.
Israel’s military has killed more than 11,200 Palestinians in Gaza, including 4,500 children, Gaza’s Health Ministry has reported. Among the dead are 42 journalists and media workers, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Karen Pomer, a protester and longtime LA activist, said the level of civilian casualties is unacceptable and amounts to genocide.
“I am disgusted and horrified,” Pomer, whose grandfather survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, told the Guardian. “It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.”