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Massive rally in Washington calls for Gaza ceasefire

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Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the heart of Washington, DC, to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Amid mounting casualties and ongoing conflict, the demonstrators directed their frustration towards U.S. President Joe Biden, accusing the administration of enabling what they labeled as genocide against Palestinians.

The crowd, which gathered on Saturday, vehemently chanted, “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide; we charge you with genocide.” United Nations experts have expressed concerns over the potential for genocide in Gaza as a result of Israel’s persistent bombardment, which was triggered by Hamas attacks on southern Israeli communities on October 7.

Citing the UN’s Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as acts intended to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, protesters accused the Biden administration of failing to set clear boundaries on Israel’s military operations, despite urging the minimization of civilian casualties.

The ongoing conflict has prompted President Biden to request over $14 billion in aid for Israel from Congress to support the current war in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of at least 9,488 Palestinians, as reported by health authorities in the Hamas-governed territory.

The demonstration spanned across several blocks from Freedom Plaza near the White House, extending towards the U.S. Capitol, reflecting a call for an end to U.S. support for Israel.

Al Jazeera spoke to various demonstrators to capture their voices:

Nidaa, a Gaza demonstrator, expressed the urgency to halt the war, stating that her family in Gaza faces relentless bombings, emphasizing the need for global attention to end the atrocities.

Huda Alkuraey, a Yemeni-American advocate, highlighted the prolonged lack of freedom for Palestinians and the necessity to speak out against the ongoing conflict.

David Horowitz, a Jewish-American activist, stressed the importance of a proper ceasefire and criticized the Biden administration’s approach, considering the humanitarian pauses insufficient.

Ayan Yusuf, a Somali-American protester, voiced the collective sentiment, underscoring the human toll and rejecting the notion of the conflict being justified under the guise of self-defense.

Eisha Raja, a Pakistani-American activist, criticized the administration’s approach to address Islamophobia in the U.S., labeling it a diversion from addressing their policies in Gaza, advocating for a complete ceasefire and the discontinuation of U.S. support to Israel.

Maria Habib, a Lebanese-American demonstrator, expressed her disillusionment with the current political landscape, indicating a refusal to support Biden and the Democratic candidates due to their stance on the ongoing conflict.

Siham Alfred, a Nakba survivor, highlighted the deep-rooted fear of displacement among Palestinians and condemned Biden and other Western leaders for their treatment of the Palestinian people.

The rally stands as a powerful symbol of widespread discontent and a plea for an immediate resolution to the conflict in Gaza.

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