Tallahassee, FL - On July 17 nearly 80 protesters from the Tallahassee community and student groups gathered outside the Florida State Capitol building to demand freedom for Palestine and an end to U.S. support for Israel. Protesters held a banner proclaiming “We say to Israeli occupation!” They crowd chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Viva, viva, Palestina!” The Palestinian community in Tallahassee, including families, came out in large numbers to speak out against Israeli apartheid.
The crowd had a moment of a silence for those suffering at the hands of Israeli forces. Several Palestinian youth denounced Israeli aggression towards Gaza. Local activists also rejoiced in the return Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old from Tampa, Florida, who was brutally beaten and held under house arrest by Israeli police.
“I think everyone should aid the Palestinian people in their struggle,” said Delance Burnside, a Dream Defenders activist and Tallahassee community member. “The struggle of Black people is undeniably linked to those of the Palestinian people - complete misrepresentation in media, murder in mass numbers. We are both victims who have been criminalized.”
The protest in Tallahassee is one of many across the world. Protesters also chanted support for Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian American activist currently facing repression from the U.S. government. Petitions from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression were circulated at the rally demanding the U.S. government drop the charges against Odeh, who was tortured and
imprisoned by the Israeli military in 1969.
Protesters demanded that the U.S. government withdraw all aid, including military aid, to Israel. The crowd demanded an end to the brutal military campaign of collective punishment against the Gaza Strip that has, since July 3, claimed the lives of more than 300 Palestinians and has left many more injured.
Activists say they are planning demonstrations in the near future to show solidarity with the people of Palestine. Students for a Democratic Society, Dream Defenders and Students for Justice in Palestine participated in the protest, and the Florida State University Muslim Student Association spoke.