D.C.'s Huge Anti-War Protest Targeted President Joe Biden Calling Him “Genocide Joe”
In what organizers believed would be the biggest rally of its sort in the United States since Israel launched its bombing in Gaza following Hamas's onslaught last month, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors marched through downtown Washington D.C. on Saturday. The "National March on Washington: Free Palestine" protest was organized by a coalition of anti-Israel activist groups, including Code Pink and National Students for Justice in Palestine, and saw tens of thousands of people descend upon Freedom Plaza, just a few hundred yards from the White House. The protestors were waving Palestinian flags and opposing the Israeli military response to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack.
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One of the organizations in the demonstration, ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, said on its website, "Israel, with the full backing of the U.S. government, is carrying out an unprecedented massacre in Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians are being killed with bombs, bullets, and missiles paid for by U.S. tax dollars." The organization claims that 300,000 individuals participated in the protest. As reported by Rolling Stone, the demonstration started at approximately 2 p.m., when speakers addressed the audience and led them in chanting. Protesters at one time screamed "We say no, genocide Joe," an apparent reference to their discontent with President Joe Biden's pro-Israel stance.
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Local community groups and progressive organizations organized hundreds of buses to bring protesters from all around the country to the nation's capital. The International People's Assembly, a key participant in the protest's planning, issued a statement saying, "The march is set to be the largest in favor of Palestine in US history." The kaffiyeh, a patterned scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian identity, and the Palestinian flag are seen being carried by large numbers of demonstrators in video footage from the march. Signs in the crowd read, "Stop the massacre" and "Let Gaza live." There were a number of organizers who directly addressed President Joe Biden, "Biden, Biden, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide" and "no ceasefire, no votes."
At the Washington rally, ANSWER director Brian Becker said that popular support in the United States for the Palestinian people had "entered a new era unlike any that had come before it." As reported by The Guardian, Becker said, "The change comes from us, we’re sending a strong message, a very strong message to Joe Biden: if you stand with genocide, we hold you guilty of genocide. When you kill 10,000 Palestinians not because of what they’ve done but because of who they are, when you commit genocide against a people, and destroy a people in whole or in part, you are guilty of genocide and that’s why we’re going to the White House." Nihad Awad, who is the national director at the Council on American–Islamic Relations, added, "The language that President Biden and his party understand is the language of votes in the 2023 elections, and our message is: no ceasefire, no votes. No votes in Michigan, no votes in Arizona, no votes in Georgia, no votes in Nevada, no votes in Wisconsin, no votes in Pennsylvania."
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