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One Thousand March on Chicago Israeli Consulate

One thousand Palestinians and their supporters march on the Israeli Consulate in Chicago to protest the brutal massacres of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government.


by Ali Abunimah

CHICAGO-October 2--About one thousand Palestinians and supporters marched on the Israeli consulate in downtown Chicago this evening, to protest the ongoing massacre of Palestinians, which to date have claimed more than fifty lives, and injured more than 1,200, as Israeli troops continue to attack civilians with helicopters, rockets and live ammunition.

The number of people who attended the rally far exceeded organizers' expectations, as numerous buses and vans and private cars brought men, women and children of every age from different parts of Chicago and the suburbs.

Demonstrators gathered at Tribune Plaza, on Michigan Avenue, a main Chicago thoroughfare beginning at 4.30PM. Activists passed flyers to passersby, and demonstrators carried signs with slogans like "52 Years of Massacres is Enough," "How many children need to die?," and "Sharon=War Criminal."

As the crowd increased in size, chants went up in Arabic and English. Echoing the cries of their compatriots in Palestine, demonstrators chanted in Arabic, "With spirit, with blood we will sacrifice for you Palestine." English chants included, "Free Free Palestine!"

Led by young people carrying Palestinian flags, marchers headed south from Tribune Plaza across Michigan Avenue bridge, towards the Israeli consulate building. Original plans had called for a rally in front of the consulate, with speeches by community leaders. But because the demonstration was so large it was decided to keep the march going in a large loop in order to prevent people surging forward and being pushed against police barricades. Many protestors were emotional and grief-stricken. Chants came to a halt for a period as protestors sat on the ground for a minute of silence in memory of Palestinian martyrs.

Twenty children from Chicago's Palestinian community, donned white T-shirts and lay on the road in front of the Israeli consulate. They were then sprayed with red paint to symbolize their solidarity with Palestinian children killed and injured by occupation forces.

An elderly Palestinian woman, who gave her name as Ferdaws, approached a group of non-Palestinian supporters with tears in her eyes, and said, "I want to thank you for coming to march with us today. We want to show the world that what they say about us is not true, we are not killers and terrorists." Ferdaws said that her father and sister had been killed in an Israeli attack on her village near Betunia, in the occupied West Bank in 1968.

This evening's demonstration received widespread coverage in local media, leading the Channel 2 (CBS) evening news, which reported that, "palestinians say they rallied today to better educate their neighbors and colleagues about the violence in their homeland." Fox TV (Channel 32), WGN TV (Channel 9) and several local radio stations also had reports. In addition, reporters from The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers were present.

Earlier in the day Ali Abunimah and the Israeli Consul-General Tzipora Rimon appeared on WBEZ Radio for a full hour fielding calls from listeners. (The Worldview program is archived at

The demonstration was co-sponsored by: Arab American Action Network, Al-Awda Chicago, Al-Mahjar, Arab American Institute, Arab American View Newspaper, Al-Quds TV, Committee for a Democratic Palestine, Friday Magazine, Friday Radio, Islamic Association for Palestine, Guild of Palestinian Writers and Journalists in North America, United Arab Networking, American Friends Service Committee, Eighth Day Center for Justice, Hammerhard Mediaworks, Southwest Youth Collaborative.

The protest in Chicago was one amongst many being held cities around the world as international condemnation of Israel's crimes grows.



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