New Yorkers protested in an emergency demonstration on Friday, 30 March in response to the Israeli massacre against a mass Palestinian civilian demonstration in the Gaza Strip. Over 17 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,400 injured by live Israeli occupation fire directed at the mass demonstration, the Great March of Return. The demonstration was a commemoration of Land Day and emphasized the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and homes in occupied Palestine ’48 which they have been denied for over 70 years as well as demanding an end to the 11-year siege of Gaza.
The massacre, coldly boasted of by Israeli occupation forces, including “Dahiyeh doctrine” architect Gabi Eizenkot who personally commanded the repression of the protest, against a popular civil demonstration evoked worldwide popular anger and protest. Dozens of demonstrations have been organized around the world to protest the massacre and demand immediate action, including the expulsion of Israeli diplomats, an immediate arms embargo and international sanctions against the Israeli occupation state.
At the same time, the U.S. and other imperialist and colonialist governments have done little even to condemn the massacre, while corporate and state media have done their best to obscure the massive state violence aimed at a civilian demonstration of oppressed people living under occupation and siege.
In New York, Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine joined with several Students for Justice in Palestine chapters as well as the members of the NY4Palestine Coalition, including Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, to call for an immediate emergency demonstration in Washington Square Park. Despite the rain, dozens of protesters came out to express their outrage at the Israeli massacre and their support for Palestinian rights, especially the right to return.
Joe Catron, the U.S. coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, spoke at the protest and read the Samidoun statement on the massacre and the need for international popular action. As he spoke, he wore a green scarf with the logo of the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas from the over three years he spent in Gaza, demonstrating the unity of all Palestinians and supporters of Palestine with the broad spectrum of Palestinian resistance.
Joe Catron later conducted a TV interview with Press TV on the massacre in Gaza. During his interview, he discussed his current participation as a speaker on the ISM Spring Tour. Four speakers are traveling across North America during March and April, speaking about the work of the International Solidarity Movement. He will be speaking alongside Islam Maraqa at events in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York and Missouri in the coming weeks; Rana Nazzal and Katie Miranda will be speaking this week throughout California and Canada. The ISM Tour speakers also issued a statement urging participation in the ISM and global solidarity organizing following the massacre.
New York organizing in response to the massacre and in support of the Great Return March is continuing, with plans already in place for rallies and marches to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba in May.