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Oct 31, 23

Protests and Blockades in Solidarity with Palestine Continue as Deadly Attacks on Gaza Escalate

Massive protests in support of Palestinians in the occupied territories under attack by Israeli forces have continued, with militant street marches taking place in Philadelphia, direct actions shutting down an arms supplier in Boston, freeways being blocked by mass marches in the bay area, an enormous sit-in by anti-Zionist Jews grinding the main terminal to Grand Central Station in New York City to a halt, and pickets of a defense contractor taking place in so-called Toronto.

These actions come hot on the heels of comments from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre comparing demonstrators opposing the occupation of Palestine by the state of Israel, which in recently leaked documents called for the ethnic-cleansing of the occupied territories, to the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville in 2017. The Anti-Defamation League has also called for pro-Palestinian groups on campus to be investigated for allegedly providing “material support” to groups like Hamas. Biden has also attempted to claim that the number of deaths reported by Palestinian health officials, upwards of 8,000 just so far, are false, a statement discredited by fact-checkers.

Conditions within Gaza continue to rapidly turn into a hellscape, with hospitals shutting down due to lack of fuel and water and millions running out of a basic necessities. James Elder, spokesperson at UNICEF stated recently, “The numbers are appalling; reportedly more than 3,450 children killed; staggeringly this rises significantly every day. Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children. It’s a living hell for everyone else.” Currently Israeli forces have entered Gaza as bombings continue, such as the recent attack on the Jabalia refugee camp.

As this horror plays out, thousands continue to take to the streets across the so-called United States, Canada, and around the world. Here’s a roundup of recent mass demonstrations and direct actions.

A report back posted to Philly Anti-Capitalist read:

Saturday night, October 28th, in light of the communication blackout in and increased bombing of Gaza, approximately a thousand people assembled in Center City Philadelphia for an emergency call to action in support of Palestinians.

The crowd included people responding to an additional call for anarchists and anti-colonial radical presence at the demonstration. We were among them. The call suggested attendees wear black clothes and keffiyahs or ski masks. We chose to wear both, layering keffiyahs over ski masks because the clear show of solidarity was important to us. A hot fashion tip: we were able to remove a layer and still be covered and anonymous.

Soon after the rally became a march, we and others began covering the walls with decolonial slogans. Some favorites: FREE GAZA, FUCK ISRAEL, DECOLONIZE, VIVA PALESTINA, FAUDA, FAGGOTS AGAINST EMPIRE, BLOOD$ (on banks along the way), and FUCK BIDEN WHOLE LIFE. Those in bloc were particularly good at looking out for each other as painting took place, and it felt thrilling to write on a wall, fuck up a bank, inhale the smell of fresh paint. Even more thrilling was the response from other demonstrators! Everyone had each other’s backs, whether they were in the black bloc or not. Other demonstrators pushed out snitches, shielded writers from cops and security guards, warned us vandals when the cops were looking for us, and also joined in, borrowing paint cans and markers to write their own slogans. There were some close calls with law enforcement but at the end of the night no one was arrested. We love to see it!

After a while things got hot (girl, it was 80º out) and the cops were on the lookout. People transitioned 😉 into new looks, and mixed into the crowd. Passing privilege, baby!

In Rittenhouse Square, the crowd paused, blocking the intersection and surrounding a sound truck. Activists gave speeches from the truck bed. It was cute until these two boys showed up, oh my god! They tried to put up Zionist propaganda (those “missing person” posters, you’ve seen them) in the middle of the crowd, but that wasn’t going to happen, obviously. People ripped down the only poster they got up, and then confiscated the rest. A very patient and generous activist escorted them away and down the block. This is a good place to remind you that these tactics are often a ploy to film, dox, and harass. If you’re going to interfere, go off, but like, be unidentifiable (no face, no tatts, no case).

The march had great energy and a lot of the chants were inspiring and like, literally revolutionary or insurrectionary so… Anyway, we had some fantasies after being in such an exciting environment. If this was the energy here, just imagine what could happen if this demo passed by as ugly as a military recruitment center or a weapons manufacturer’s office?

In all earnestness, people are angry, grieving, and fucking fed up with inaction in response to peaceful protest. While yes, we could have seen that last one coming, the warm reception to criminality and confrontation that night has us wondering what horizon we can reach for next. What could a more directed march be like? What can we do now, within the belly of this fucking empire? After all, the things around us are not disconnected from the genocide in Palestine – the politicians, the arms dealers, the funders, the surveillance technologists, many of them have offices, warehouses, or some physical presence here. They are real people doing things in real places, we can go to them and touch them, and it will effect their ability to collaborate on genocide.

Faggots for intifada

In so-called Toronto, subMedia.Tv reported:

Early on the morning of October 30th, a crowd descended on INKAS Armored, a Toronto-based defence contractor with ties to the Israeli Defence Forces. Responding to a call from Palestinian trade unions for workers around the world to shut down exports to the Israeli military, the protesters set up picket lines to block access to the facility.

The Israeli state is carrying out a massacre in Gaza with bombs, tanks and weapons manufactured in several countries in the so-called West. As the world watches the unfolding situation in horror, one way of moving beyond vigils and rallies entails finding effective ways to target this supply of arms.

In San Francisco, on October 28th, over 15,000 shut down highway 101, as demonstrators demanded a ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine. A post on Indybay wrote:

A mass protest for Palestine has marched onto Central Freeway via Octavia Street. Following similar actions in New York City and Washington D.C., over fifteen thousand protestors have taken control of the freeway. Amidst the ongoing Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, protesters are calling for a ceasefire and an end of US military aid to Israel.

In Boston, the group Palestine Action US reported that demonstrators shut down the “largest weapons supplier to Israel,” Elbit Systems on October 30th. According to the Independent:

Pro-Palestine activists have claimed they shut down a Boston arms company that supplies Israel.

Palestine Action US posted on X alleging it “completely halted” the business of Elbit Systems in Boston after a protest on Monday.

Elbit Systems, an Israel-based international defense electronics company, is the largest weapons supplier to Israel.

The company’s American subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, has operational facilities in Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Virginia and Florida, according to the company’s website.

Video footage posted on social media appears to show activists from the group Palestine Action protesting outside the headquarters of Elbit Systems in Boston on Monday.

Nine arrests were made, Cambridge police said, after protestors broke through barricades protecting the building and blocked the entrance.

Police said the protest was initially peaceful, but erupted into chaos when protestors began vandalising the building, which has been the site of numerous protests in recent weeks.

On October 27th in New York City, upwards of 4,000 people shut down the main terminal at Grand Central Station during peak commuting hours. As Democracy Now! reported:

On Friday night, thousands of members of Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City and their allies shut down the main terminal of Grand Central Station during rush hour. It’s the largest sit-in protest the city has seen in over two decades. Many wore shirts that said “Not in Our Name” Banners were unfurled, reading, “Palestinians should be free” and “Israelis demand ceasefire now.” One sign read, “Never again for anyone.”

Finally, in Western North Carolina, a communique posted to the website Unravel claimed responsibility for the following action:

We set fire to a Cat/Caterpillar bulldozer in Western North Carolina recently; Caterpillar company is responsible for many decades of apartheid enforcing, home and olive grove demolishing, & extreme land destruction in Palestine, displacing many Palestinians & now aiding Israel’s terrible war & genocide. One act of solidarity with Palestine people can do is burn Caterpillar/Cat machines everywhere.

~Some anti-zionist Jews

As the war continues to intensify with the complete backing of the United States government, resistance in solidarity with Palestine shows no signs of stopping, as the need for an end to the bombardment only becomes more dire for those living in the occupied territories.

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