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MN demands justice for Palestine, 8th of large solidarity protests in Twin Cities

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St. Paul, MN – More than 200 people gathered at the busy intersection of Snelling and Summit Avenues here, July 25, to protest the continued war on Gaza and the U.S. support for the Israeli assault. This protest was the eighth demonstration to stand with the people of Gaza in the past three week in the Twin Cities.

Demonstrations across the world continue to oppose the rapidly escalating Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza. The previous day, tens of thousands took to the streets in the West Bank in the largest protest of Palestinians against the Israeli occupation since the 1980s.

The death toll has sky rocketed since the start of the Israeli military’s ground invasion and now tops 800 people. Entire families have been killed. At least a third of those killed are children. Hospitals have been bombed, some more than once. Vital infrastructure, like water and sanitation facilities are targeted by the Israeli military. There are over 100,000 refugees and there is no safe place in this tiny enclave of 1.8 million heroic and besieged people.

Margaret Sarfehjooy of the Women Against Military Madness Mideast Committee spoke at the protest and addressed the issue of Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’, “It’s very disingenuous to say that no nation will accept being shelled by rockets and this is self defense. It’s the other way around. No nation can accept being imprisoned, being besieged, by land, by air, by sea, and being starved and deprived of the most basic requirements of a decent life like freedom of movement and clean water.”

Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the Anti-War Committee addressed the issue in her speech too, “When your land is stolen, your children are killed, you are being starved, you are denied medical care, your family has their home demolished to send a ‘message’ to not resist – it is a justified response to want to end your own oppression. That is not the same as an aerial bombing campaign to further displace more Palestinians in order to increase your own nation at the expense of another people which is what Israel is doing. To those out there that say we must criticize the Palestinians as equal partner in the violence I say there is a right side of history on this issue and we are on the right side of history. The Palestinian people deserve their freedom!”

Aby-Keirstead also encouraged supporters to keep up the pressure on the Minnesota congressional delegation, “Next Wednesday we are organizing a protest to step up our congressional campaign to tell Senator Al Franken, who is up for re-election, that we demand a voice for peace and justice in Congress. Franken has a long history of voting for U.S. military aid to Israel and last week co-sponsored a resolution supporting Israel’s bombing campaign as it was launching its ground invasion into Gaza. As a co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 498, Franken has cheered Israel along as its military has bombed schools, refugee centers and hospitals in Gaza. Franken’s last election was very close. Join us to pressure him to be the ‘compassionate’ senator he has promoted himself to be. The people of Palestine need us to do more. Our work is not done. Please join with the Anti-War Committee to build this growing movement of opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza and the U.S. government’s support for it!”

Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Committee also had speakers at the protest.

The protest was organized by Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), the Anti-War Committee and the Coalition for Palestinian Rights. This action was a part of WAMM’s weekly Friday vigil for Palestine. Next week’s vigil will be focused on Freedom for Palestine and Justice for Rasmea Odeh.

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